Monday, January 19, 2015

Artificial Sweeteners, Sugar, or None of the Above?

A couple of years ago I mentioned briefly that I was reading up on artificial sweeteners and that I didn't want to give up Diet Coke.  But, the more I read, the more I realized I really needed to.  Here are a few facts that swayed me:

-Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Splenda, which are legal in the US, are banned in Europe.
-The can actual make cravings for sweets worse.
-Studies are showing a connection between these sweeteners with cancer.
-They're also linked with weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.
-It can cause symptoms like fibromyalgia.  Huh.

There are many places I've looked for this information.  I'm not going to source them all, only because I haven't kept all of sites I've looked at.  Here is a video from Dr. Oz if you're interested:

The bottom line is, I couldn't conscientiously consume these anymore, and I wanted my daughter to decide not to, too.  I'm the one who introduced her to diet sodas, and I wish I hadn't!  Fortunately, she did decide to get off these types of sweeteners.

So now what?
Because we both have low blood sugar issues, I didn't just want to start eating sugar.  I do have some, but it's usually in something like ice cream so it has the protein to counteract it.  I certainly wasn't going to start drinking regular sodas.  I admit I went through a mourning period, much like the one I had for my ex-husband- I lost something I thought I had, even though it wasn't real in the end (TMI?)

I decided to give stevia another chance. It's a plant that you can grow in your yard; the leaves are naturally sweet.  I usually buy packets of it, but I hate the bitter aftertaste, though, so I started reading up on it, and it turns out that it is only bitter when too much of it is added.  So I now put very little and add a bit at a time until it's where I want it to be.  I never just dump a whole packet in.  Side note with stevia- the newest "versions" of it are mixed with artificial sweeteners, so read the label!  I don't get mine from the regular grocery store, only the health food store, and even there I check the label to make sure there is nothing added.

It doesn't really help me with soda- I've just given it up (except for every once in a great while, I'll have a small amount of regular Dr. Pepper).

But, as I got off of the diet drinks, etc., it felt like my ability to breathe oxygen improved... I know it sounds weird, but my capacity to breathe without getting winded increased.  That's a little freaky, right?  And I did take a sip of some a few months after I quit, and it tasted horrible!  I couldn't drink it anymore; it was so chemical-tasting.

So that's my sweetener story.

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