Artificial sweeteners associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia
(NaturalHealth365) Rates of Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth leading cause of death in the United States – are increasing by leaps and bounds. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association recently reported that death rates from this disease increased by a stunning 89 percent in the years between 2000 and 2014. Unfortunately, these same conventional ‘health’ organizations ignore the direct (negative) impact that artificial sweeteners (plus other toxic food ingredients) have on brain function and the cardiovascular system.
And, let’s not forget, stroke – another leading cause of death – continues to claim over 130,000 lives yearly in the U.S. Now, alarming new research shows that consuming a single can of artificially sweetened soda (per day) is associated with a higher risk of both these killer conditions.
Revealing scientific study: The truth about artificial sweeteners
The community-based study, known as the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort, involved 4,372 participants over age 45 – and showed that daily consumption of a can or bottle of artificially sweetened soft drink was associated with a 2.96 greater risk of stroke and a 2.89 greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In other words, even modest daily amounts of artificially sweetened soda appeared to virtually triple the risk of developing the pair of dangerous conditions – a shocking finding, and one which may certainly account for the rising rates of both diseases.
Researchers noted that the study, which was published in Stroke in April, was the first to examine a link between artificial sweeteners and dementia. It was not the first, however, to highlight the potential dangers of artificially sweetened beverages.
New study builds on earlier research showing harm from artificial sweeteners
The Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study also showed that consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks was associated with higher risk of stroke, as well as with high blood pressure – a primary risk factor for stroke.
The Northern Manhattan Study, a multi-ethnic and population-based study, showed that consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was linked with a higher risk of combined vascular events.
And, a study published in 2009 in Diabetes Care demonstrated that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 67 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and with a 36 percent greater risk of developing components of metabolic syndrome – such as increased waist circumference and elevated blood sugar.
Artificial sweeteners have also been linked to liver damage, kidney stones and heart disease. Along with the increased risk of diabetes, stroke and dementia, there is ample reason to bypass artificial sweeteners.
But these toxins have another yet another dirty trick up their sleeves.
The sugar-free scam: Artificial sweeteners actually contribute to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain
As counter-intuitive as it seems, artificially sweetened zero-calorie beverages can actually promote weight gain. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, artificial sweeteners overstimulate the sugar receptors, distorting the sense of taste and actually limiting tolerance and appetite for more complex (healthy) flavors.
This means that artificial sweeteners can make healthy, naturally-sweet foods – such as fruit – less appealing to the palate. And when it comes to unsweet foods, such as vegetables, consumption of artificial sweeteners can have the effect of making them taste downright unpleasant.
At the same time, artificial sweeteners actually increase cravings for sugar and high-calorie foods. Because they provide zero calories and zero satiety – or satisfaction – people instinctively look to other foods to fill the calorie gap: a vicious cycle that creates the perfect recipe for obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Studies confirm the link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. The San Antonio Heart Study found that participants who drank more than 3 diet drinks a day were twice as likely as non-consumers to become overweight or obese.
Artificial sweeteners constitute a “rogue’s gallery” of toxins
Aspartame, an artificial sweetener composed of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol, is currently used in more than 6,000 consumer foods – including diet sodas – and over 500 medications.
In a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, researchers declared aspartame a carcinogen, and advised a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies regarding the chemical. They also found that it impaired memory and increased oxidative stress in the brain. Aspartame side effects can include headaches, mood disorders, dizziness and even episodes of mania.
Sucralose, or Splenda, is a possible carcinogen that has been linked to leukemia in animal studies. It is a chlorinated sucrose derivative, initially developed as an insecticide.
Acesulfame K contains methylene chloride, which can causes headaches, nausea, irritability and slow reaction times. Saccharin, the oldest of the artificial sweeteners. can cause photosensitivity, nausea and rapid heartbeat. And xylitol is a sugar alcohol that can cause bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea.
Important note: sugar alcohol-based artificial sweeteners – common in breath mints and sugarless gum – can be fatal to dogs. Keep these products out of the reach of your pets. Better yet, don’t use them at all.
For a healthy alternative, use natural sweeteners
Although the study involved artificially sweetened soft drinks, non-nutritive sweeteners can lurk in an amazing variety of products.
You might not be surprised to find artificial sweeteners in sugarless chewing gum, diet sodas and zero-calorie flavored water. But, how about their existence in salad dressings, frozen yogurt and “light” fruit juices? Always carefully check labels to make sure your foods are free of these harmful chemicals.
For a non-toxic, low-calorie natural sweetener, opt for stevia – which not only has antioxidant effects but can even help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Raw, local, organic honey – packed with antioxidants as well – and blackstrap molasses, which is high in B vitamins and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron – are also good choices.
Of course, moderation is key, as excessive amounts of sugar – even from “natural” sources – can harm your health by causing weight gain or tooth decay. But, the natural sweeteners suggested (in this article) will help you to avoid the toxic side effects of artificial sweeteners.
The truth is: there is nothing “sweet” about artificial sweeteners. These toxic chemicals can wreak havoc on your nutritional well-being, your palate, and your health. Simply put, avoid them at all costs.
Editor’s note: You can prevent, slow down and REVERSE Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Click here to gain INSTANT access to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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