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Artificial Sweeteners May be Harmful to Your Health


by Nancy Russell, M.D.



According to the medical journal Internal Medicine News, dated April 15th, 2018 an article is entitled, “Sucralose upregulates adipogenic genes in high-BMI users”. The author of the article, Dr Sabyasachi Sen, M.D. says, we think that the sucralose, (also known as Splenda), is allowing more glucose (sugar) to enter the cell (cells of the body). 


When fat tissue from individuals with obesity was exposed to the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda), there was significant upregulation of genes that promote glucose (sugar) transport. Genes known to be adipogenic (cause increase in fat cells) and those governing sweet taste receptors also were significantly upregulated (which increases cravings for sweets). 


Effects of sucralose (Splenda), are more detrimental in obese people who are prediabetic or diabetic compared to non obese consumers of this low-calorie sweetener. 

These new findings are helping to solve the puzzle of how a sweetener that delivers no energy may contribute to metabolic derangement reported Dr Sen. 


The investigators in this experiment took fat cells from normal weight individuals and from obese individuals by a small biopsy sampling of the subcutaneous fat. Using mRNA gene expression profiles, they determined that glucose transporter genes, adipogenic genes and antioxidant genes were upregulated among sucralose consumers with obesity, significantly more than for the normal weight participants. 


The investigators concluded that sucralose allows more glucose (sugar from food) to enter the cells of the individuals. This is the mechanism that explains how consuming sucralose on a regular basis can worsen diabetes and cause weight gain. 


Another artificial sweetener, aspartame or Nutrasweet is sold in over 100 countries, found in over 5000 products, and is consumed by over 250 million people as reported by Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D. Aspartame is found in most diet sodas and a good portion of chewing gum. There have been more reports to the FDA for aspartame reactions than for all other food additives combined. Other names for aspartame include: Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure and the blue packet. 


Aspartame can be a danger to your brain and reported reactions range from headaches, mood alterations and even seizures. Other reported symptoms to the FDA include: dizziness, nausea, numbness, fatigue, depression, rashes, weight gain, muscle spasms, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, loss of taste, joint pain, memory loss, anxiety attacks, breathing difficulties, and tinnitus. 


According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame. These include: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy. chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Fibromyalgia, birth defects, lymphoma cancer, mental retardation, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. 


Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of chemical poison. Aspartic acid has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid isolated from it’s naturally bound state, causing it to become a neurotoxin instead of a non-essential amino acid.  Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain but when consumed regularly can cause the levels of serotonin in the brain to decrease. Low serotonin levels can lead to depression, sleep disorders and increased appetite. In extreme cases, when large amounts of phenylalanine are consumed can go on to cause memory loss, headaches, mood swings and violent rages. The last ingredient, methanol makes up 10% of aspartame. When soft drinks undergo heat exposure above 86 degrees fahrenheit, the amount of free methanol goes up and breaks down into formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin and can cause vision disturbances, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, chills, memory lapses and even blindness. 


Advice for good health is to avoid all artificial sweeteners because of the potential health concerns. There are many healthy alternatives such as raw honey, real maple syrup and agave nectar. For zero calories alternatives, choices include spring water, filtered water, mineral waters, vitamin water zero and sparkling waters. Stevia, xylitol and monk fruit are zero calorie natural sweeteners that are readily available. Be sure to check the ingredients in your beverages, gums and foods as artificial sweeteners abound with many different names. 

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Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.


Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.

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