Research that has recently surfaced in 2017 is adding to the “arsenal” of nutritional information that Artificial Sweeteners (AS’s) may not be all that great for the human body, regardless of the fact that they may have zero calories. Among many other negative side effects, this recent research is showing that these AS’s may increase a person’s risk of STROKE and DEMENTIA (damage to the brain due to interrupted blood supply, and decreased mental capacity, such as memory loss, personality changes, impaired reasoning, respectively).
It seems that the scientific study did not show as strong of a risk when people consumed regular sugar or sugar-sweetened beverages…however, this is NOT to say that one can/should consume the same amount of sugar and expect great health! Sugar still provides a LOT of unnecessary calories that can be transformed into triglycerides (TG’s) and lead to weight gain. What the research article seems to be saying is that the risks are not the same between SUGAR and ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS… AS’s appear to be way more damaging and risky!
Artificial sweeteners include: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, sucralose, and many more.
Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to cause glucose intolerance in mice by altering gut microbiota, and are associated with dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in humans. In other words, glucose intolerance is a pre-diabetic state of HYPERglycemia which is associated with insulin resistance and may increase risk of becoming fully diabetic; altered gut microbiota / dysbiosis simply means there is an imbalance in the healthy bacteria that live inside the digestive tract, which are super important for the health of the body!
Take-away? Eliminate artificial sweeteners as much as possible from your diet, in the form of Splenda, diet soft drinks, pancake syrup, etc., and opt for natural sweeteners, in very small amounts, such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or spices like cinnamon.
If you wish to read the scientific paper for yourself, it can be found at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/04/20/STROKEAHA.116.016027
For Your Health,
Daniel Andras, M.S., R.D., L.D.