With worldwide obesity rates doubling in the past three decades, is it any surprise that artificial sweeteners have been gaining popularity? Beginning with the creation of saccharin, “sugar substitutes” have become the answer to a dieter’s prayer. Have your cake and eat it, too; it’s a dream come true. Or is it? Let’s take a closer look.
The first sweetener to come out was aspartame/Equal or Nutrasweet. Then there was sucralose-Splenda, Saccharin-Sweet and Low and lastly Agave. Many parents may read this article and think that regular sugar is acceptable because it’s not a chemical and it’s not going to cause a chemical reaction in your child’s brain. But the truth is that the average child, even with these artificial sweeteners being so prevalent, is consuming more sugar than is healthy.
The average child consumes twice the amount of recommended daily sugar intake, and more than 42 percent of the added sugars in a daily diet are from sugary beverages. The childhood obesity epidemic has become a serious concern, resulting in the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services releasing restrictions on marketing unhealthy food products to children.
Very simply put, things that are sweet should be a treat. These are not items that should be consumed daily, and whether it’s an artificial sweetener, sugar or even natural sugar from a whole fruit, things that are sweet should not be a major part of a child’s daily diet.
Although it’s best to leave things in its natural state, there might be times that you would like to sweeten something, or perhaps you want to bake and need a good sugar substitute. For those times, many wellness practitioners would recommend Stevia, particularly the all natural kind, or use honey instead. A natural sweetener is generally anything that is found sweet in its original form and does not require a chemical reaction to make it so.
Eating items that are chemically created is generally not a good idea. Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose have been reported to cause various adverse reactions. Studies have also shown that it’s possible consuming low-calorie sweeteners may actually cause weight gain by confusing the body’s ability to estimate caloric intake and resulting in overindulgence later. A diet rich in whole, living foods is the only way to ensure your family is practicing a healthier lifestyle