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Gut Health

Sugar occurs naturally in carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. They are broken down easily and converted into energy. However, refined sugar (gotten from vitamins and fiber) requires extra effort to digest. The body utilizes all forms of energy just to break it down, leaving the body depleted of essential nutrients. According to research, consuming too much sugar has been linked to many health problems including diabetes and other chronic conditions. This led to the hunt for sugar substitutes.

In the 1950s, sugar substitutes were first developed to help patients suffering from diabetes, obesity, and coronary disease. Over the years, artificial sweeteners have been used to replace white sugar. But before adding artificial sweeteners in both foods and beverages, it has to be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Currently, the FDA has approved the following sweeteners:

1. Aspartame – sold under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet.

Say No To Aspartame

2. Acesulfame Potassium – produced by Hoechst.

3. Neotame – produced by the NutraSweet Company.

4. Saccharin – sold under the brand name Sweet'N Low.

5. Sucralose – sold under the brand name Splenda.

In recent years, there has been much debate about the safety of artificial sweeteners. Usually, the craving children have for natural sugars would wane in adolescence. Now that artificial sweeteners have come in play, waning is outwrestled by sweet addiction. At this stage, the body now constantly demands artificial sweeteners or refined sugar instead of real nutrients. The scariest part is how the body assimilates the artificial sweetener when ingested. The brain believes that it is getting the required nutrients in artificial sweeteners without knowing it’s not getting any real nutrients. These excess food cravings trigger addiction, thus exposing the immune system and making it susceptible to various ailments.

For dieting purposes, it’s safe to say that artificial sweeteners are really helpful. But, you know your body more than anyone – too much is terrible for your health, a little is okay, avoidance is best. Artificial sweeteners’ benefits shouldn’t be eyed by those who have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), UC (Ulcerative Colitis), and Crohn's Disease and seek to cut down on their sugar intake. Here’s why!

Aspartame is composed of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol. These chemicals are all known to be dangerous neurotoxins that cause complications for people with liver disease.

Saccharin is considered the oldest form of artificial sweetener. It is 300 times as sweet as sucrose and does not taste the same as sugar. Saccharin was originally used as a substitute for diabetics, but now it does the exact opposite of what we hoped for. This makes it dangerous for patients with IBD, UC, and even pregnant women, as the substance can easily be transferred to the unborn fetus.

Sucralose is of further concern as it has no carbs, calories, fat or protein, yet it is 600 times sweeter than sucrose. According to a recent study published by Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, sucralose consumption could increase myeloperoxidase activity among patients with Irritable Bowel Disease and even worsen symptoms. Although sucralose is known to be the safest artificial sweetener, excessive intake has shown to worsened gut inflammation among mice models of Crohn disease over a 6-week period.

Xylitol is a form of sugar that occurs naturally in various fruits and vegetables. Though it has numerous health benefits, however, when consumed in large amounts, could result in Crohn’s Disease and gastrointestinal problems.

Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are numerous conclusive theories about the adverse effect of artificial sweeteners. A recent study by Dr. Alex Rodriguez-Palacios of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine indicates that artificial sweeteners could worsen symptoms in patients who have IBD, UC, and Crohn's disease.

In most cases, however, the use of artificial sweeteners is safe. It promotes healthier teeth and maintains weight. However, it is best avoided if you are pregnant or suffering from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), UC (Ulcerative Colitis), and Crohn's Disease.


Artificial Sweetener May Exacerbate Inflammatory Bowel Disease

2018-03-19 15:25:00

Laurie Toich, Associate Editor