Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Do You Know What's In Your Sugar Free Diet Food?

We've all heard that excess sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, addiction, tooth decay and other serious ailments. It’s a no brainer that it’s essential to control your intake of sugar. And, food manufacturers have made that somewhat easy. You can easily pick up “diet” or “sugar free” versions of your favorite goodies and snacks at any supermarket. Basically, you can have your favorite fixes in the form of diet coke, sugar free Jell-O, sugar free Crystal Lite, etc.

Aspartame Is A Dangerous Substance Found In Many Diet Foods: It’s important to realize though that these cheats come with a high price. The sugar replacement in these “no sugar” items is aspartame. Aspartame has been around for a long time under the trade names Nutrasweet, Equal, and Spoonful. However, under certain conditions aspartame can convert itself into a substance that is incredibly dangerous to your body. When aspartame reaches 86 degrees, it converts into formaldehyde (yes, you read that right, the substance used by funeral homes to preserve bodies), and then it changes to formic acid, which can contribute to many disorders thought to have an acidic component like fibromyalgia, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, intestinal cystitis, slurred speech, blurred vision, and memory loss.

Aspartame Contributes To Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss: Diet food manufacturers would very much like for you to believe that aspartame is a good alternative to sugar that will help you lose weight, but in fact the exact opposite may be true. Chemically altered “fake foods” like aspartame actually make you crave carbs and contribute to overeating. In essence if you consume aspartame to lose weight, you could well get the exact opposite and do more harm than good. Aspartame contributes to the process where fat cells dilute the “fake food” aspartame by retaining fluid, causing bloating and weight gain. Aspartame also allows blood sugar levels to fluctuate wildly, causing the body to convert food to fat much more easily.

Stevia Is A Much Better Alternative To Sugar: There are natural, whole food alternatives to the “fake” substances in aspartame. Stevia is one such alternative. Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a natural sweetener for many years. Stevia is actually about 30 times sweeter than sugar, so you do not need to use much. Better, stevia has no calories. In my opinion, Stevia tastes much more like real sugar than aspartame with much less of an aftertaste. Additionally, Stevia does not adversely affect blood glucose levels so it if often used by diabetics or used to naturally sweeten foods.

The next time you reach for your favorite aspartame "diet food," think again. It's quite possible aspartame is contributing to your weight, rather than helping it. Worse yet, aspartame could well harm your long term health.

To view Stevia products, please visit

About the Author
SDean is a freelance writer and health researcher.

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