Most Canadians are interested in preserving their health. The question is: how to go about it? Keeping up to date on medical appointments is easy enough, but when it comes to eating right many Canadians are lost at sea without a paddle. The debate over artificial sweeteners is particularly fierce, both among scientists and public interest groups as well as within the minds of food buying Canadians. Should you buy artificially sweetened foods or natural ones? Hopefully the information in this article will help you come to a decision.
Natural Sweeteners: Pros
Natural sweeteners are sugars that are actually found in nature. Some foods, such as sugar cane and sugar beet, are naturally very sweet and can be refined and added to other foods like candy and soda pop. The main benefit to natural sweeteners is that since they are found in nature, humans have been eating them for thousands of years, which is long enough to learn both the short and long term effects, so you know what you're getting with sugar. Organic, holistic, and natural foods served by grocery stores and catering services all contain only natural sweeteners.
Natural Sweeteners: Cons
The big drawback to eating natural sugars, of course, is that too much sugar is not good for you. Unless you have a very active lifestyle, the sugar you eat is extra, empty calories that will be turned into fat if not used immediately. Sugar also contributes to tooth decay, and upsets the blood sugar to insulin balance, which can lead to diabetes. It also provides an artificial, short-lived energy boost which contributes to hyperactivity, especially in children.
Artificial Sweeteners: Pros
Artificial sweeteners are chemical additives that have been designed to mimic the taste effect of natural sugars without the harmful effects like the expanding waistline and repeated trips to the dentist. At Willowdale Endodontics, the dental care team will tell you they see more people who need root canals that eat regular sugar, such as hard candies and gum. The major benefits to eating artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose instead of sugar is that they contain no calories and are not linked to tooth decay. Instead, they move through the body without being absorbed, which means that even diabetics can enjoy their favorite sugary foods without having to moderate their intake.
Artificial Sweeteners: Cons
Artificial sweeteners were designed without the harmful effects of sugar, but they can have harmful effects of their own, and some of them can be quite scary to the average person. Saccharin, one of the earliest artificial sweeteners, has been proven to cause cancer in rats (though not in humans). Aspartame, a common sweetener, has been linked to headaches and the methanol it contains has been accused of causing everything from brain tumors to autoimmune disorders, but extensive testing by the FDA and Health Canada has not supported these theories.