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12 PM, Group 5, Are artificial sweeteners a healthier alternative to real sugars?Updated automatically every 5 minutes

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Are artificial sweeteners a healthier alternative to real sugars?

Answer: No artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative.

Origin and Prevalence

In the articles we have read we have seen an argument for both sides of this question. A majority of people think that artificial sweeteners are a safe way around sugar. Although it is safe for you to ingest, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is healthy. "Artificial sweeteners have been shrouded in controversy since saccharin, the first no-cal sweetener, was discovered in 1878" Emily Main pg. 1. A main appeal to using artificial sweeteners over natural sugars is that they contain zero calories and therefore lead people to believe they will help them lose weight. Another reason people typically turn to artificial sweeteners is that they don't raise blood sugar level, something diabetic people try to avoid, "Artificial sweeteners provide no energy, so they won't affect your blood sugar" published on WebMD. As well as the fact that alternatives to sugar also don't cause tooth decay, where as sugar has a large negative impact on oral health. Our bodies aren't able to fully break down and digest the chemical compound found in the artificial sweeteners known as polyols due to its unique properties. Which is why they may have many poor effects on the body such as: artificial sweeteners in diet beverages may increase the risk of dementia and stroke, weight gain, and holes occuring in the brain https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/could-artificial-sweeteners-be-bad-for-your-brain-2017060711849. While with natural sugars the body is able to digest them and breakdown the compound.

Issues and Analysis

The main issues relating to sugar intake today are obesity and diabetes, but research continues to show new potential issues that stem from eating artificial sweeteners that could be worse than eating natural sugars. Various studies have shown how artificial sweeteners confuse the body.

" 'Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,' explains Dr. Ludwig. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable."(Strawbridge) In our opinion we have found more articles to show that these artificial sweeteners are bad for you then they are good for you. Showing in that real sugars can be better for you.

In an article about the negative effects of artificial sweeteners, health editor Emily Main gathers information from professors and authors of health books to prove the dangers these chemicals pose.

"Susan Swithers, PhD, professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University and a leading researcher on artificial sweeteners, says that your gut gets confused when you eat zero-calorie-but-super-sweet artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste sends a signal to your gut that something high calorie is on its way, so your gut anticipates foods that do, in fact, have a high calorie count. But when those don't arrive, your gut doesn't utilize the foods efficiently, and that causes a cascading effect that interferes with your body's hunger signals." (Main)

"Part of that cascading effect has to do with the hormone insulin. When you taste sweet foods, even if they have zero calories, your body still releases insulin as if you'd eaten sugar. Insulin leads to blood sugar spikes, which increase cravings. Swithers' research has also suggested that artificial sweeteners prevent your body from producing GLP-1, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels and feelings of satiety. Combined, the two haywire hormones could be causing you to feel hungrier and eat more."

This confusion of the taste buds, leading to a greater craving for sweets, can actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss. Emily Main presents this idea supported by a University study.

"But something is obviously amiss: A study from the University of Texas found that people who drank diet soda were 65 percent more likely to be overweight than people who drank no soda and, more bizarre, they were more likely to be overweight than people who drank regular soda." (Main)

"It's not just a biochemical reaction that leads artificial sweeteners to pack on the pounds. Natasha Turner, ND, author of The Super-Charged Hormone Diet, says that artificially sweetened foods could trick you into over eating because of the way they feel in your mouth. "The taste and feel of food in our mouth influences our learned ability to match our caloric intake with our caloric need," she says.

In an article published on Harvard's School of Public Health website, they write, "At the University of California-San Diego, researchers performed functional MRI scans as volunteers took small sips of water sweetened with sugar or sucralose. Sugar activated regions of the brain involved in food reward, while sucralose didn't. ( 56) It is possible, the authors say, that sucralose 'may not fully satisfy a desire for natural caloric sweet ingestion.' So, while sugar signals a positive feeling of reward, artificial sweeteners may not be an effective way to manage a craving for sweets."


In conclusion to our research we have more evidence to prove that artificial sweeteners are not a healthier alternative. They may have some benefits in short term like no sugar to help with diabetes, and lower calories for people watching how much their eating and or drinking. But in the long term they have more affects that can harm you. Such as obesity, dementia, stroke, and possible holes occuring in the brain. After our research we have concluded that it is better for you to just have real sugars in moderation. Due to the effects it can cause long term, and some of the short terms. There are not specific studies done yet to prove everything, but the ones that have been conducted show the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners and what they can do to your body. As well as it is just healthier to enjoy real sugars in moderation.

Works Cited

Comparing artificial sweetners https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/comparing-artificial-sweeteners-topic-overview#2

Main, E. 7 Reasons To Ditch Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners Once And For All August 10, 2017 h ttps://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/trying-lose-weight-stay-away-artificial-sweeteners

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The Digital Polarization Initiative is a student-run project which allows university students to investigate questions of truth and authority on the web and publish their results. Learn more, or see our index. Photo credits here. DigiPo members can edit this page.