For the health of it

Reading Time: 2 minutes If you are one of those calorie-conscious consumers who opt for diet products, you may actually be ruining your health.

Reading Time: 2 minutes
If you’re trying to reduce your intake of calories and sugars, you, like so many Americans, may be turning to artificial sweeteners. Today artificial sweeteners, and other sugar substitutes such as NutraSweet, Equal, SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low and Splenda, are found in a variety of food and beverages like ice cream, salad dressings, frozen yogurt, candy, fruit juice and soft drinks, which are all marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet.” However, do not be fooled by these labels. Although the calories are low, the health concerns are high with these “diet” items.

When natural sugar, such as table sugar, raw sugar and corn syrup, enter the body it is quickly converted to glucose in the blood. If this energy source is not burned right away, it is stored as fat for later use. Sugar also stimulates the production of high levels of insulin, which encourage heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and because Americans love maple-glazed doughnuts and sugar-filled sodas, this is a major problem in our country, and contrary to today’s marketing ploys artificial sweeteners are not helping.

by Laura Fox _webA study conducted in San Diego found that women who drink at least two diet sodas a day experience a 30 percent drop in kidney function over the course of a decade. Artificial sweeteners have also been found to increase weight gain, which is very unfortunate for those calorie-conscious consumers who opt for diet products in hopes of losing weight.

Even though our minds know we are consuming fewer calories by drinking a Diet Coke rather than a regular Coke, our bodies and taste buds become confused. Our taste buds taste sweet but there are no calories that come with that taste. Our bodies expect to digest calories, but when there are no calories our bodies don’t know how to react, and as a result our insulin levels become out-of-whack and our metabolism slows down.

It is better to eat natural sugar in moderation than consume artificial sweeteners in excess because our bodies know how to digest small amounts of natural sugar. When our minds, taste buds and stomachs are in sync our bodies understand how to process food, resulting in a healthier you.

Melissa Lindsey is a senior at Utah Valley University studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. Contact her at [email protected]