My challenge to you for this month is to abstain from artificial sweeteners for seven days.
The big ones are aspartame (Equal and Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda). Lesser known chemical sweeteners are acesulfame-K and saccharin.
Why do we care? These sweeteners are man-made and are neurotoxins. They have been linked with headaches, gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, male infertility, panic attacks, depression, cell damage, central nervous system disorders (such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis), and cancer. For the full story, click here.
Beside the point, it has been proven that artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for sweets, causing people to reach for more snacks and thus gain weight. Click here to read about that.
Sugar Alcohols As you start checking your labels for these chemicals, you may notice some of these names--sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and xylitol. These are considered safe. It could be that we don't know enough about them yet, or they really are safe. Xylitol carries claims of increasing B vitamin and calcium absorption, remineralizing tooth enamel, and fighting/preventing ear infections. The only downside to these sweeteners is when you overindulge. They are not absorbed in the intestines and can cause gas and diarrhea. If you chew a piece of gum with it, you'll be fine. I once bought some pancake syrup with these sugar alcohols in it. I was looking for a sugar-free product and was thrilled with I found this one because it didn't have the bad chemical sweeteners mentioned above. Well, my son and I only used that syrup once on our pancakes, enough said. I don't seek out foods with these sugar alcohols, but if something contains it, I don't avoid it, either.
So start checking your labels and watch out for those fake sweeteners! They are in everything from gum to spaghetti sauce. Beware when you see a label that says, "Sugar Free", or "Low Sugar."