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Sweet Salva I

When it comes to satisfying that sweet tooth, artificial sweeteners may not be the way to go < BY GLORIA ATKINSON >

'm definitely not a big fan of sugar. However, if given the choice between sugar and artifi- cial sweeteners, I would, without question, reach for the sugar. Artificial sweeteners have the potential to

have a more significant negative health impact when compared to even moderate amounts of sugar consumption. While we all have unique body chemistry and will react differently, some reported reactions to sweeteners have included itch- ing, swelling, shortness of breath, rash, hives, heart palpitations and even anxiety and depression.

Do artificial sweeteners

promote weight gain? Many people are trying to reduce their

weight, so it seems a slam-dunk to substitute regular sugar with artificial sugar. You might even be convinced you’re doing the right thing for your health and the health of your family by using artificially sweetened products. Studies have shown mixed results - for some,

artificial sweeteners may help them lose weight while others have experienced interference with normal metabolic responses such as blood sugar control and insulin levels, which could relate directly to weight gain. In my experience, people who use artificial

sweeteners don't necessarily reduce their con- sumption of sugar—or their total calorie intake. If fact, many actually consume more calories as they 'overcompensate' for zero calorie drinks. We’ve all seen that in the fast food restaurants, morbidly obese individuals eating their super sized meal accompanied by a gargantuan diet soda. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners keep the

sweet taste on your taste buds and your mind, so this will make it more difficult to kick your sugar cravings. Cravings are your body’s signal


Treat sugar and sweeteners of all types with respect and caution. Sweet treats should be an occasional indulgence after you have given your body the fuel it needs to propel you through a life of optimal health.

that you are missing important nutrients—un- til those nutritional requirements are satisfied, they will continue. Unfortunately, the cravings generally are for sweet, feel-good foods and not brussels sprouts. A well-balanced nutrient rich diet is the answer to cutting cravings and nutri- tional imbalances.

What is the alternative? Part of a healthier lifestyle means cutting back on all sugars, especially processed. White

sugar is a processed version of sugar cane. If you have the occasion for a sweet treat, choose those as close to the real source as possible (see side- bar). Remember, all sugar should be consumed in moderation; the body still needs to metabo- lize it and one of the staples of weight manage- ment and good health is blood sugar control. Eat sweet foods with high fiber foods to balance blood sugar. Remember, if you notice a reaction imme- diately following ingestion of a known artificial

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