Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Artificial Sweetener Blues

In the last day or two, I recall somebody's HYC blog featuring a recipe made with stevia. I didn't think much about it, mostly because I've never used the herb-based sweetener.

This morning, however, I read an article about aspartame - the phylalanine-based artificial sweetener often used in soft drinks, diet gelatins, and sugar-free gums and mints - considered by some to be a carcinogen, and thought by others to boost the appetite, cause carb cravings, and inhibit weight loss. Yep, the blue stuff. The blue packets in my kitchen cabinet.

James B. LaValle, founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, says whenever your liver is forced to filter and metabolize a poison, it can be damaged. "There is no doubt in my mind that aspartame is just that, a poison," he says.

LaValle further contends the FDA has been aware of problems with aspartame for years. In fact, the FDA once actually published a list of 92 (yes, 92!) side effects and reactions to this chemical. Here's a sampling from that list:

* Headache and dizziness
* Abdominal pain and cramps
* Change in vision
* Seizures and convulsions
* Fatigue and weakness
* Change in heart rate
* Difficulty breathing
* Oral sensory changes
* Joint and bone pain
* Blood glucose disorders
* Blood pressure changes
* Difficulties with pregnancy
* Change in sexual function

"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again," LaValle concludes, "If you crave something sweet, use the all-natural herb stevia. You can buy it at any health food store in a liquid or powder form. It’s sweeter than sugar, has no calories, tastes great… and it’s safe."

To my dismay, the reports about Splenda were not much better than those for aspartame. And I've got giant bags of Splenda in my pantry. At least right now.

Ed. Note: James B. LaValle, RPh, N.D, C.C.N., is founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, a nationally recognized expert on natural therapies, and the author of 13 books on healthy lifestyles and integrative care, including Cracking the Metabolic Code.
Anybody else want to weigh in on this sweet conversation?


Weight Loss Cloggy said...

I don't think there is any ONE more SENSIBLE thing you can do for your weight, health, mind, body, soul, EVERYTHING than to go RIGHT NOW to your cupboard and DUMP EVERY SINGLE ONE of your artificial sweeteners.

They are evil, evil, evil.

For years and years I suffered from pain in my ovary region that was dull and bludgeoning, it felt like someone had been stomping on my abdomen with boots and I was 2 days out from healing. And the headaches? My GOD, VICIOUS, vicious things that pounded, pounded, pounded, sent bolts of pain through my eyes and teeth, made it feel as though a 300 pound man was stomping my neck and brought me close to vomiting and tears. Plus, as an extra joy, I would have days on end where all I could taste was rotten pepper. Like someone had left pepper to go slimy overnight in water and then painted my mouth with it.

I didn't understand - I was a 22 year old college student, eating pretty normally, for a student (read lots of cheap carbs) but still not bad - fish burgers, ham sandwiches, salads, cereal, macaroni and cheese, the occasional midnight kebab, so I didn't understand where it was coming from. This continued for YEARS and it wasn't until I reached Europe, where I stopped drinking diet coke, that I realised "Holy mother, I FEEL GREAT!"

As soon as I ate something with a sweetener in, bang - the symptoms would come back and I would receive a vicious stomping once more.

I have not eaten sweeteners for over 2 years now, and if I accidently take a sip of a drink with it in, I CAN TASTE IT and it tastes FOUL and chemical, unnatural.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE throw them out of your diet, home, life. I PROMISE you won't miss them and you will notice how good you suddenly feel.

I apologise for the length but this is something close to my heart!

Ready Maid said...

Whew! That was vividly descriptive. Thanks for taking time to share. Honestly.

Selma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Selma said...

I don't use much splenda at all, so I'll probably keep using the very small amount that I do use. Now, the diet pop concerns me more. Part of me feels as a former heavy smoker, I'm probably doomed any way, so why not keep enjoying my sodas. On the other hand, I'd hate to be doing exactly what I did to myself as a smoker. I thinks it's possible I could replace alot of pop with one or two cups of coffee in the morning. It sounds like it certainly is worth being mindful about.

Hanlie said...

I have been very outspoken about this in the past. You are damaging your health by using these products. I have known so many people who had used it and experienced dramatic improvements in their health when they stopped.

In our house we use honey, fruit juice, fruit puree, dried fruit (dates work well) and even sweet potato to sweeten stuff.

Nicole said...

LOL! I was going to leave a comment, but I can tell people feel very strongly about this issue, and I don't, so I think I'll keep my thoughts to myself. :o)

Bev said...

I use sugar in its natural state before it is refined: cane juice crystals and I also use honey to sweeten things.

I agree that aspartame and splenda cause a lot of side effects. I have them diet soda, etc but when I do have it I get a lot of stomach issues and fatigue!