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According to the fashion, our wardrobe changes. In fashion, it is vital to know about the next new thing. Unfortunately the food business has started to follow the same with Artificial Sweetener/Sugar. Chemists create a new “food” in a lab, advertisers promote it and once it’s in every shelf of super market we all buy and use it.

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners also called sugar substitutes are compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar without the same calories. They are anywhere from 30 to 8000 times sweeter than sugar and as a result, they have much fewer calories than foods made with table sugar (sucrose). Each gram of refined table sugar contains 4 calories. However sugar substitutes have zero calories per gram. It is a proprietary patented chemical (typically phenylalanine) that gives sweetness.

The way artificial sweeteners were discovered could have been a scene out of the old classic comedy. In 1879, Ira Ramsen a researcher from John Hopkins spilled a chemical on his hand; it turned out to be sweet when he tasted it. He was trying to create some antiulcer drug in his lab when this accident occurred. His spill set the stage for the development of saccharin-an artificial sweetener known today by many names

Now more than 125 years later, saccharin is joined by a growing list of artificial sweeteners with varying chemical structures. There’s a whole host of new ones on the horizon. These products substitute sugar and may even replace the dreaded high fructose corn syrup.

Are they safe?

More kids are drinking artificially sweetened beverages like DIET Coke/Pepsi/Sprite.

Can they help people to shed their extra weight? What role should they play in person’s or children’s diet-if any?

For children, sugar is considered poison. Read this if you want to know why.

Artificial sweepers pose its own potential problems in infants and children.

Sugar alcohols mannitol and sorbitol can cause diarrhea in adults as well as children

Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, used in some formulas could cause irritability and muscle dysfunction in infants, although this is unproven according to Medicine.Net.

Aspartame has the most complaints of any additives available to the public. It has been linked with Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia and other central nervous disorders. Possible other side effects of aspartame include headache, migraines, panic-attacks, dizziness, irritability, nausea, intestinal discomfort, skin rash and nervousness. Some researchers have also linked it with depression and manic episodes.

Parents particularly should be concerned about the neurotoxicity of aspartame. Dr. Olney pointed out in 1980 that aspartame killed neurons in lab rats and that children’s nervous system aren’t protected by the blood-brain barrier. He told the FDA, “We can be reasonably certain there is no margin of safety for the use of aspartame in the child’s diet.”

Obesity and sweeteners in children.

A review of studies conducted by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, published in the 2008, found that an increased intake of artificial sweeteners correlated with an increase, rather than a decrease, in obesity.

Artificial sweeteners changes the way people perceive food tastes, according to the Harvard Health Letter. Foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners also fill children up without providing any nutritional benefit.

The AAP clearly states that artificial sweeteners shouldn’t have significant place in a child’s diet.

So what do you do?

An occasional taste of a treat made with artificial sweetener won’t harm your child.

But in general, we avoid “artificial” food like a plague.

We recommend that you offer sweet substitutes.

Cinnamon is a sweet tasting spice that has recently been shown to have a beneficial effect on stabilizing blood insulin levels. Sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal or in a smoothie.

Molasses, Honey and Agave nectar are other less dangerous alternatives.

Best, try fruit toppings or dates.

Author: TxNaturalPediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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