Artificial Sweeteners... Good or bad?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2007 12:09 AM GMT
    I've been drinking water with "Lipton Green Tea TO GO" packets for a while now. They advertise 80 mg of antioxidants per packet. A friend told me to watch out because the artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain. I thought these were supposed to be good for you, or at least not bad?

    The ingredients are listed as:
    Instant Green Tea
    Citric Acid (provides tartness)
    Sucralose (Splenda Brand)
    Natural Flavors (soy)
    Silicon Dioxide (prevents caking)

    Do I need to be worried about any of these?

    I'd really rather not drink plain water all day. It's just so mundane :(
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    Jul 17, 2007 2:55 AM GMT
    The artificial sweetners will not directly cause weight gain. However, although deemed safe for consumption, you may want to know what sucralose is...

    Sucralose is a cholrinated sugar. So it is techincally a chlorocarbon, which is toxic. It is allowed to be consumed as a artificial sweetner because:

    1. The amount of sucralose absorbed by the GI track into our systme is VERY, VERY minor. Too little to be poisonous.

    2. Most of the sucralose is not absorbed and cannot even be broken down (or digested) by humans. Therefore, even it is still a sugar, it bascially passes through your digestive track intact. Therefore, it is not a source of calories or energy.

    BUT, this is not to say sucralose cannot be borken down by various microb in your gut. That is why some would get more gas when comsuming large amounts of sucralose, as you are making some microbs in your gut proliferate out of proportion temporarily...
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    Jul 17, 2007 3:03 AM GMT
    Ah -- good to know!
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    Jul 17, 2007 3:42 AM GMT
    Personally, I steer way clear of artificial sweeteners. Sucralose (Splenda) and Equal both disagree with my system.

    I have a theory that far more people have reactions to these sweeteners than are actually aware of it. Even nutrasweet can cause headaches in many people...

    My overall philosophy is that if your sugar consumption is so calorically significant than you need to worry about it, then you need to reexamine your food and drink intake anyway. Honey and fructose are great, natural ways to sweeten your beverages.

    I also tend to drink a lot of fruit juices, especially the kind with pulp. You pick up vitamins, minerals, and even some fiber, none of which is going to be present in a powdered drink. I also tend to brew my own green tea in larger batches. I've gotten into trying different varieties and sweetening it with my own simple syrup, so I have some control of how much sugar is actually in the stuff. It works well for me, as I dislike drinking plain water.
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    Jul 17, 2007 3:48 AM GMT
    I have a friend who was just diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). All of you who use artificial sweeteners, particularly those with aspertame, should know that there is anecdotal evidence that prolonged use of such sweeteners may produce ALS symptoms, or may hasten the onset of the disease, rare as it is.

    Someone with medical expertise, perhaps NYCMusc4Musc, may be able to comment with more authority on this. But what I have read on the web on this is scary.

    This friend of mine is an athlete, relatively young, is straight, but has a body that could compare favorably with most on RealJock. He's also been so body conscious in his life that I'd classify him as a Peter Pan Syndrome type person now. He also use to guzzle Tab, Diet Coke, artificial sweeteners to cut calories down.

    To face such a grim future is horrifying for him, his family and friends. I realize that this is not scientific...but I'd cut out artifical sweeteners completey, on the off chance that they are implicated....
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    Jul 17, 2007 4:06 AM GMT
    So, it looks like I won't be buying those again. Does anyone know of alternatives which come in similar packages but are healthier? I need something that I can just pour in. I work 11 hour shifts and drink a lot of water, but it's not an environment where I can sit down and make tea.
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    Jul 17, 2007 4:15 AM GMT
    We get patients with ALS, one of mine I treated 5 years ago has already passed away..

    ALS is a neurological and eventually fatal disorder where the neuro connections of the brain and the mucles break down slowly. A person's cignitive status stays the same, but eventually the patient looses all muscle function, unable to even sit, and, eventually, unable to even breath. All this while the cognitive and mental status is intact...

    No one knows what causes ALS or how to cure it today.

    It is known fact that our hospital get a share of ALS as there is somehow increased cases associated with Gulf Vets (I work for the VA system.) The Gulf Vets are exposed to all sorts of chemical substances. In addition to ALS cause not identified, one just knows that there is a correlation with increased ALS cases with Gulf Vets..

    However, aspartame is basically a peptide molecule made up of many amino acids connected by rather weak and unstable ionic bonds. That is why it does not stay as aspartame when baked... When broken down, aspartame becomes various substances such as aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and toxic formaldehyde.

    I think (not certiain) that aspartic acid is considered to be a neurotoxin in large doses. I think that is the reason some are linking aspartame with ALS as it is thought the by products of aspartame is destroying certain neurological functions in the brain....
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    Jul 17, 2007 5:57 AM GMT
    Not to mention there's evidence that sucralose (ie splenda) decreases thymus size (in rats at least), which depresses your immune system...
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    Jul 17, 2007 6:28 AM GMT
    I just avoid them because they all taste bad to me. Diet Dr Pepper does not taste like Dr Pepper!

    I was pleased when gatorade started to make Propel. I use to like it, but the other day I picked up a bottle and tasted it and it was gross. I checked the ingredients and there it was Sucralose. I don't remember it always being an ingredient, and I'd be suprised if was. Typically I can taste this stuff immediately.

    I can't believe that something that tastes as medicinal as aspartame or sucralose could be beneficial or harmless when consumed daily over an extended period of time.

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    Jul 17, 2007 6:11 PM GMT
    The (limited) studies done on Aspartame have basically confirmed it should never be taken into the human body. The rats in the original study (sorry I'm not including footnotes/links here) developed tumors and holes in thier brains. The FDA originally said no to it, then we get to the 80's under Reagan (with former Mosanto CEO Donald Rumsfeld now in Washington) and eventually, it gets considered "safe." To this date, there haven't been extensive long-term studies done on the product, but what limited ones that have occured have found it to be possibly carcinogenic. Other A.S.'s (lol, high school toilet humor) haven't been found to be much better. The FDA knew about benzene in soft drinks (carcinogen) yet said nothing for a long time...the point is, inform yourself before putting anything "artificial" in your body.
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    Jul 17, 2007 6:13 PM GMT
    Correction: Rumsfeld came from G.D. Searle (I think that's the name) which was bought by Mosanto (which also incidentally manufactured Agent Orange during the Vietnam War).

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    Jul 18, 2007 8:37 PM GMT
    And now some good news for you:

    There are natural alternatives to sugar that aren't poisons like Splenda. I use these sweeteners every day and love them, I have to, I am a diabetic. These are natural sweeteners and are not caloric. So you can use them with abandon.

    Stevia: Stevia is a south American plant. It has a bit of a taste to it, it isn't chemical or nasty. Sugar has a taste to it (unlike high fructose corn syrup) too, so this isn't so odd. You get used to it and it can be quite enjoyable. Stevia comes in powder and liquid form. It dissolves in cold water poorly, and so I prefer to the liquid form. Sweetleaf is the best brand. It's flavor is the most neutral and the sweetness is always consistent.

    You may notice that stevia is a sweetener in many protein drinks as well. There is a good reason.

    the problem is you can't bake with it. Oh, you can, but I wouldn't recommend it. For that I use: Xylitol.

    Xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from corn. Again, it is not caloric. It is actually good for your teeth as well. It comes in the form of graduals, like sugar, so you can use it just like sugar in recipes. The only downside is that if you eat too much it can act as a laxative. Also, keep it away from dogs. But the flavor is spot on. Now brand is cheap and does the trick.

    You can get both of these items at a health food store or a large grocery store.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Jul 19, 2007 12:32 AM GMT
    don't forget Lo han, it is from a fruit.
    try Ultima Replenisher, has all your electrolytes, zero cals and natural sweetners. 4 flavors.
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    Jul 22, 2007 4:49 PM GMT
    I like to drink plain cocoa, 3 packed and level tablespoons of powder in 2 cups of hot water. You could add any of the natural sweeteners mentioned above. Cocoa has flavanoids that are now touted as beneficial. However even plain cocoa has about 20 calories per tablespoon, but I don't count 'em.
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    Aug 18, 2007 6:34 AM GMT
    Correct! I use now Splenda instead of EQUAL (Nutrasweet) for it contains Aspartame.

    Unfortunately, most Diet Sodas I love to drink are using Artificial Sweeteners with Aspartame. =(