I was on a road trip with my husband last week. Our original plan this week was for me to work half of the week and then run up to Whistler for the remainder to celebrate my 4 year wedding anniversary with James. But, things quickly changed as my Mother-in-law was suddenly hospitalized and we spent a few touch and go days. Thankfully, she is slowly recovering and all is good.
This story is a nice seqway, believe it or not, to the dangers of artificial sweeteners and in particular, aspartame. What we learned from my mother-in-laws situation is that she was prescribed some medications that her body did not respond to well. In fact, it disturbed her breathing which ended up creating a toxic response that, had it not been realized at the exact time that it did, she may never had awoken. Now, I don’t necessarily promote the use of any medications but I do realize that there are certain situations where interventions need to take place. At the same time, this is an example of how chemicals can cause reactions that our bodies may not agree with.
According to Dr. Mercola, aspartame is by far, the most dangerous substance ever added to foods. He also adds that “aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death.”
Aspartame is found everywhere. Your diet sodas, artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, low-fat and no-sugar yoghurt, and of course, your sugar free chewing gum and mints.
There are countless reasons to ditch aspartame which include the increased risk of cancer and diabetes, increased episodes of seizures, and the ability to affect mental and mood disorders.
There is also a huge misconception that aspartame is the key to weight loss since it has been touted as a “weight loss” substitute. This is something that I have come across with some of the women that I have worked with and it’s the #1 ingredient that we remove from their diets immediately!
Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and can confuse the body’s response to it. When you normally consume sugar, the body expects the calories to follow but artificial sweeteners don’t offer that since they are a “zero-calorie sweetener”. As a result, we often crave more sweets and end up consuming more and our health goals get thrown out the window.
Soooo, what do you do when you want to sweeten things up a bit? Below are a few of my favourite substitutions for soda pop, yoghurt and gum and mints.
For you soda drinkers, Zevia Zero Calorie sodas are a great go-to brand since they use natural colourants, no artificial flavours and non-GMO products. The sweetener used is Stevia which is a non-calorie herb that can be found in it’s actual unprocessed form (slightly green), a powder and a liquid. It is also a low glycemic sweetener making it ideal for those with diabetes or sugar intolerances. Stevia is extremely sweet so use with caution and with these recommended ratios.
Another option is this tasty Fruit Tea Sparkler:
1 cup of a fruit-based herbal tea, ideally chilled
1/2 cup of sparkling water such as Pellegrino or Perrier
1-2 drops of stevia
It’s easy! Add all ingredients together, add some ice, and sip away.
Ghahhhh, sugar-free yoghurts was the worst invention EVER!! For something that is meant to fuel your body, someone decided to dump it full of aspartame and so many other unnatural ingredients that have such a poor long term effect to our health (insert RANT here). Anyways, my friends, I recently created this Vegan Vanilla Coconut Yoghurt that is so creamy, full of plant-based protein, and naturally sweetened with stevia.
Chewing Gum and Mints
Unfortunately, most sugar-free chewing gum and mints not only contain toxic aspartame but they are most often filled with artificial flavourings and ingredients. It’s kinda scary the impact that gum could have on our health without knowing what is in them. I recently tried The Pur Company’s gum and mints and I was elated to know that they are not only aspartame free, but they use non-GMO and vegan ingredients.
The sweetener in PUR gum and mints is xylitol. Xylitol is a low-digestible carbohydrate that resists starches and includes fiber. One of the unique benefits of this sweetener is that it can reduce dental plaque and help to remove bacteria in the mouth. How cool is that?
The Pur Company just launched their bubblegum and chocolate mint flavoured gum and they want to make sure that you get a chance to try! So, they’re giving us a $10 coupon to by any of their aspartame-free Gums and Mints online with the coupon below:
Now, a word to the wise. As with any non-caloric sweetener (even the good ones), they need to be used in moderation. If the taste is not your thing, I do also recommend small quantities of honey, maple syrup, and/or coconut sugar, all of which have some nutritional benefits to them. But, again, they are still sugar so use sparingly.