Aspartame As Sugar Substitute? Well, Think Twice
Are you thinking of Aspartame to cut down your sugar intake so you could lose weight? Well, read further to see that it’s is not a really good choice.
“Sugar is the modern poison,” experts said. However, people can’t still get enough of it. I am also guilty of consuming a large amount, especially for my coffee. I just don’t enjoy a bland cup when I’m working.
Because sugar contains tons of calories, it’s considered a culprit to weight gain. Alternatives mushroomed and among them is aspartame.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener that is 200 times more powerful than sucrose. It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet® and Equal®. It is a combination of two amino acids: L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine.
Because you can use a small amount, Aspartame is usually included in diet sodas. It’s also found in fruit drinks, pharmaceutical products, and gums.
Is Aspartame Safe?
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved the use of Aspartame since the 1980s and that decision is based on various studies.
Though regulated, the FDA tagged this as safe. Canadian and European agencies approved it as well for human consumption. Moreover, here are some more international agencies that recommend this:
- World Health Organization
- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- American Heart Association
- American Dietetic Association
Can this Cause Cancer?
Rumors and health concerns about this artificial sweetener, which includes cancer, have been up for decades. However, there are no proven claims and concrete Scientific findings that it’s indeed carcinogen.
The European Food Safety Authority published a press release saying experts have “ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer.” It also belied the allegations that it harms the brain, nervous system or affects behavior and motors of children and adults.
Can Aspartame Help You Lose Weight?
Aspartame only contains 4 calories per gram, which is also similar to sugar. However, since this is around 200 times sweeter, you’ll only need a small amount to make your food and beverage tastier.
Though you consume fewer calories with the same amount of satisfaction, it turned out that this can ruin your diet.
The Massachusetts General Hospital published a study noting that when digested, the sweetener will interfere with the function of the enzyme called alkaline phosphate (IAP), which includes the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
To test this theory, the researchers grouped mice into four: mice on a normal diet, mice on a normal diet with aspartame-sweetened water, mice on a high-fat diet, and mice on a high-fat diet plus aspartame-sweetened water.
After eight weeks, the mice that consumed aspartame gained more weight.
Aspartame Cause Higher Blood Sugar in Rats
During the 2018 Experimental Biology Conference, Brian Hoffman, a biochemical engineer at the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, presented a study that linked Aspartame to high blood sugar.
His team fed different groups of rats diets high in glucose or fructose (kinds of sugar), or aspartame or acesulfame potassium (common zero-calorie artificial sweeteners). After three weeks, they showed significant differences in the concentrations of biochemicals, fats and amino acids in blood samples.
“We observed that in moderation, your body has the machinery to handle sugar; it is when the system is overloaded over a long period of time that this machinery breaks down,” Hoffmann said. “We also observed that replacing these sugars with non-caloric artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism.”
What are the Other Side Effects?
There are claims that after consuming Aspartame, people experienced headaches, dizziness, seizure, and depression. However, there are no sufficient studies to back the claims.
Don’t Rely on Aspartame
Aspartame is generally safe. But, it’s not advisable to include this in your weight loss goals. Remember, there are no alternatives to self-control and hard work.
If you want a healthier substitute to table sugar, go natural. You can use coco sugar, stevia, and honey.