Most people are blissfully unaware that thousands of chemicals are intentionally added to food in the form of colouring, bleaching agents, buffers, stabilizers, preservatives, flavouring, sweeteners, etc.
Today, the focus will be on chemical low-calorie sweeteners that are added to countless products, while most people do not realize the possible harmful effects that these chemicals can have on our health.
Sweeteners such as sucralose and maltodextrin have been shown to reduce the population of beneficial microflora in your intestines (i.e. the “good” bacteria in your gut). Disruption of intestinal flora can lead to digestion issues, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, malabsorption of food, etc. A healthy gut is a cornerstone of good health, so anything that throws off the balance of healthy gut flora needs to be avoided.
Another sweetener villain is aspartame. Aspartame is 180-200 times sweeter than sugar and is added to virtually everything from gum to diet soda. The main concern with aspartame is that after being consumed, approximately 10% of it is converted in the body to methanol (commonly known as wood alcohol). Methanol is a known poison when consumed in large amounts. In the body, methanol is then further broken down into formic acid and formaldehyde (a neurotoxin and carcinogen) – these are the metabolites that are responsible for the optic nerve damage that leads to blindness seen in methanol poisoning.
Although sweeteners are considered safe in small amount, they are added to so many products that many people are in reality consuming them in large amounts. Furthermore, many of these additives, even in small amounts, can produce adverse effects in sensitive individuals.
It is important to emphasize that although reducing one’s intake of sugar is vital to good health, replacing it with sweeteners needs to be avoided.