Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"diet villain" ALERT Part Two: SHOOGA (artificial sweeteners)

SHOOGA: Using too much sugar, and too many sugar derivatives, and sugar substitutes (artificial sweeteners)

"Diet Villain" ALERT: SHOOGA--Part Two: Sugar Substitutes
Click here to learn about sugar PART ONE: Sugar and sugar derivatives

Sugar substitutes (artificial sweeteners)
What are artificial sweeteners? (

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals or natural compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar without as many calories. Because the substitutes are much sweeter than sugar, it takes a much smaller quantity to create the same sweetness. Products made with artificial sweeteners have a much lower calorie count than do those made with sugar. Artificial sweeteners are often used as part of a weight-loss plan or as a means to control weight gain.

Commonly Used
#1. Aspartame:
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (the white powder in the little blue packets) commonly used in “diet foods” like soft drinks, drink mixes, gelatin desserts, low calorie frozen desserts, etc. Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), is a chemical combination of two amino acids and methanol, and has recently been linked to cancer and neurological problems.

#2. Saccharin:
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener found in “diet” products, soft drinks, sugar packets, and fountain drinks at restaurants. In animal studies saccharin has caused cancer of the bladder, uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels and other organs. In 1977 the FDA wanted to ban saccharin because of these animal studies, but congress intervened and permitted its use as long as there was a warning label. In 2000 saccharin was removed from the list of cancer causing chemicals and Congress passed a law removing the warning label. As a result, use of saccharin in soft drinks and other foods will likely increase, and so will the incidence of cancer.

#3. Splenda:
Splenda is the trade name for sucralose, a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. It is true that the Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms.

According to Women to Women: A great website full of information on this topic
"Evidence that there are side effects of Splenda is accumulating little by little. Sucralose has been implicated as a possible migraine trigger, for example. Self-reported adverse reactions to Splenda or sucralose collected by the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center include skin rashes/flushing, panic-like agitation, dizziness and numbness, diarrhea, swelling, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder issues, and stomach pain. These show up at one end of the spectrum — in the people who have an allergy or sensitivity to the sucralose molecule. But no one can say to what degree consuming Splenda affects the rest of us, and there are no long-term studies in humans with large numbers of subjects to say one way or the other if it’s safe for everyone."
#4. Stevia:
Stevia (STEE-vee-uh) is a South American shrub whose leaves have been used for centuries by native peoples in Paraguay and Brazil to sweeten their yerba mate and other stimulant beverages.

Stevioside, the main ingredient in stevia (the two terms are often used interchangeably), is virtually calorie-free and hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. “So it appeals to many people as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners,” says Mark Blumenthal of the pro-herb American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas.

Cancer. In the laboratory, steviol can be converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ genetic material (DNA). “We don’t know if the conversion of stevioside to steviol to a mutagen happens in humans,” says Huxtable. “It’s probably a minor issue, but it clearly needs to be resolved.” Read more from Nutrition Action

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that offer the sweet flavor of sugar without the calories. There is much debate on their safety and MY DIVA DIET does not recommend them.

* Notes
The long-term harmful effects of some artificial sweeteners are documented. However, as new ones come on the market, their effects will remain unknown until the harm is already done.
  • According to some researchers, nutritionists, and diabetes experts, artificial sweeteners may have carcinogenic properties and be linked to increased risk of tumors, seizure disorders, chronic headaches, and hyperactivity in children.
* Sugar Substitutes Rule
  • To become genuinely healthy and fit you should avoid unnecessary sugar and artificial sweeteners while developing a taste for foods and liquids in their natural forms.
DON'T LEAVE YOUR HEALTH TO CHANCE -- skip the artificial sweeteners and use fruit, honey, or agave nectar instead!

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