Artificial Sweeteners cause cancer in animal studies
"It has been demonstrated, for the first time, that aspartame causes a dose related, statistically significant increase in lymphomas and leukemia in females (rats) at dose levels very near those to which humans can be exposed. Moreover, it can hardly be overlooked that at the lowest exposure.... There was a 62% increase in lymphomas and leukemia." 1
Aspartame (sold as "Equal" or "NutraSweet") is a sweetener made up of two amino acids. It was thought to be the "perfect sweetener", but questions have arisen about the cancer tests performed on it. In the last three months of 1986, there were more than 3000 complaints made to the FDA concerning Aspartame. Complaints included seizures, headaches, mental confusion and neuralgic impairment.
The average American presently eats more than 120 pounds of sugar per year. Looking at it another way, that is equal to approximately 41 teaspoons per day. Refined sugars, of which table sugar is the best known, comprise more than one-eighth of the average American diet. Much of this sugar is "hidden" in foods that are baked, canned, frozen, or pre-packaged. For example, 12 ounces of Coca-Cola contains almost 10 teaspoons of sugar. One-half cup of sherbet has 7 teaspoons. A slice of apple pie has 5 teaspoons. One-half cup of canned peaches 4 teaspoons, and one-half cup of canned pork and beans has 2-1/2 teaspoons.
The National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Surgeon General have advised the public to cut down on sugar consumption. It is good to be aware of the "hidden" sources of refined sugar in your diet. Read labels, and see if the total amount of sugar you are getting is higher than you think. Refined sugar is present if the ingredients on the label include sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, maltose, corn sweetener, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. For the health dangers of "High Fructose Corn Syrup" see our videos link.
While sugar consumption is not the cause of all ills, there is evidence that it can be a contributing factor in diabetes, hypoglycemia, arteriosclerosis, hyperactivity, hyperinsulinism and elevated cholesterol, triglyceride and uric acid. Food allergy to sugar has been linked to a wide variety of mental and physical symptoms. Sugar consumption leads to an increased susceptibility to infection. Sugar provides calories and "fills you up" without providing vitamins, minerals, fiber or protein.
An interesting experiment you might perform is to eliminate sugar from your diet for two weeks and see if you feel any different. Although at first it may seem difficult to avoid sugar, you will quickly become used to alternative ways to sweeten foods, and will find that naturally sweet foods like fruits, taste sweeter to you.
Unless you are allergic or otherwise unable to tolerate them, the following whole foods can be safely used as sweeteners: raisins, dates, other dried fruits, fruit puree, or fruit conserve. You can also use fruit juice or soak dried fruits in water overnight and use the soaking water as a sweetener.
If you feel you must use added sweeteners in your foods, I would highly recommend using STEVIA, which has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose In any case, always use sweeteners that are less "refrained" and that contain at least some nutrients. This would include stevia, lao han extract, coconut sugar, unsulphured blackstrap molasses, yacon syrup, raw honey, carob powder, rice bran syrup, fig concentrate, and pure, natural maple syrup (without corn syrup added). These other sweeteners contain sugars that can affect blood sugar levels and certain organs in the same way that white sugar can. The body converts them to glucose (blood sugar) at varying rates. Some people will be able to handle them better than others. It may take some experimenting to see which ones you can use, and in what amounts, without developing symptoms.
Remember, too, that any amount you can cut down on sweeteners, and especially the refined sugars, will benefit you. If you do sometimes feel it "worth the price" to have something sweet, then enjoy what you are eating, but continue to cut down and to switch to the whole food sweeteners such as dried fruits.
1 Soffritti, M. at al. aspartame induces lymphomas and leukemias in rats. Eur J Oncol. Vol. 10, No. 2 2005.