Have you noticed that the new diet Pepsi commercials you see on television say that the drink is now aspartame free? This is not surprising as aspartame or as its been so conveniently renamed “Amino Sweet” comes with a host of negative attention over the past couple of years so it only makes sense that we look and see why manufacturers claim it to be a “healthy” choice when it comes to sweeteners.
Personally when you compare aspartame along with its not so healthy counterpart sucralose, aspartame has much more warning signs as well as side effects. So lets take a closer look!
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used widely throughout the United States. According to Elmhurst College, aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, and it contains only 4 calories per gram. Its added to many sugar free foods and drinks and is also available in individual packets for personal use. While the use of aspartame does have some benefits, there is controversy over the safety and possible side effects. Elmhurst College states that aspartame breaks down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol in the body when it’s consumed which can cause side effects such as headache, dry mouth, diarrhea and gas just to name a few. Sound fun? Lets examine further.
Aspartame And Cancer:
Per Medicinenet.com, In an initial study, 12 rats out of 320 developed malignant brain tumors after receiving aspartame in an FDA trial. There have been other studies to both support and contradict this finding. A recent study, conducted by Italian and French researchers indicates there is no association between low-calorie sweeteners and cancer. The researchers evaluated a variety of studies between the years of 1991 and 2004. These studies assessed the relationship between low-calorie sweeteners and many cancers, including oral and pharynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, larynx,breast, ovary, prostate, and renal cell carcinomas. The researchers examined the eating habits of more than 7,000 men and women in their middle ages (mainly 55 years and over).
Based on the data evaluated, there was no evidence that saccharin or other sweeteners (mainly aspartame) increase the risk of cancer in humans.
All in all several studies have researched the connection between aspartame consumption and cancer,but there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that aspartame increases the risk of cancer in humans
Needless to say, the debate continues while more research is conducted.
Ahhhh, the question that arises everywhere…are artificial sweeteners safe? You may put artificial sweeteners in your coffee, drink them in your diet soda and use them to limit sugar intake and cut calories.
So what’s the deal with artificial sweeteners and diabetes? As diabetics, they are forced down our throats as being a “safe alternative” to sugar and “diabetic friendly” but are they really all that safe, and could they actually be more hazardous to your health? Are you aware of the dangers of artificial sweeteners? Lets take a closer look at the 4 most common types of artificial sweeteners!
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Per the national institute of health, artificial sweeteners are classified as substances that are used in place of sweeteners with sugar (sucrose) or sugar alcohols. They may also be called sugar substitutes, non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS), or noncaloric sweeteners. This question is critical since the average American consumes 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners each year. Soda is the most common place they’re found, but did you know that sugar substitutes are also added to nearly 8,000 other products sold in the US, including baby foods, frozen foods and even yogurt and flavored water.
They state that using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar can help prevent dental decay and aid in blood sugar control, but are they really that safe for you to consume and why are the names of artificial sweeteners changing? Interesting to say the least, but I’m not a fan on any level and here’s why.
Artificial Sweeteners, Aspartame:
More formerly know as Equal and recently renamed “NutraSweet”
What’s in it?
- aspartic acid
Reported side effects: Headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, neurological disorders, vision problems, brain tumors and weight gain.
Concerns: Phenylalanine and aspartic acid directly impact brain and central nervous system functions; evidence shows they play a role in mood disorders, memory problems and other neurological illnesses, here is a great study by the NIH that you can check out.
Methanol is converted into formaldehyde when metabolized. Makers of aspartame say methanol and its byproducts are quickly excreted. But research has found measurable amounts of formaldehyde in the livers, kidneys and brains of test subjects after ingestion of aspartame.
At high temperatures, phenylalnine breaks down into diketopiperazine (DPK), a known carcinogen. Phenylalnine is especially dangerous for people with the hereditary disease, phenylketonuria.
According to several research studies, cranberries are one of the foods with the highest antioxidant content, since they are an excellent source of phytonutrients anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and tannins that give them their blue, purple and red pigments.
They are rich in vitamins A, C and E; and a good source of organic acids (such as malic, succininc and citric acids), selenium, manganese and copper, just to name a few important trace minerals. They also provide moderate amounts of the B vitamins, folate and iron. So how do these powerful berries compare to other types of super fruits? Lets take a closer look!
Several aging-related conditions, such as degenerative disorders of many organs and tissues and certain types of cancer, are associated with cellular damage from free radicals. Due to their high content in antioxidants, cranberries can help prevent and fight such free radical induced damages and hence protect the body against the risk of developing aging related diseases and conditions.
Cranberries and Cardiovascular Health:
Cranberries lower the risk of developing heart related ailments and improves cardiovascular health. The flavonoids and antioxidants present decrease the threat of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries get constricted owing to the accumulation of fat in it. This obstructs the flow of oxygen rich blood to various parts of the body which can lead to heart attack or stroke. These compounds suppress the oxidation of low density lipoprotein and encourage the formation of blood platelets.
Vegetables should help form the foundation of your diet — women need 2.5 cups daily and men need 3 cups, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cucumbers are an excellent choice, lets take a closer look why!
Each cup of cucumber juice counts as 1 cup of veggies to help you reach these intake goals. In addition to the general benefits of a diet rich in vegetables — including a lower risk of obesity and some types of cancer, according to the USDA — drinking cucumber juice offers specific health benefits due to its nutrient content.
Cucumbers And Vitamin K:
Cucumbers offer health benefits by significantly boosting your vitamin K intake. Your body uses vitamin K to activate coagulation factors, a family of proteins that proves essential for blood clot formation. The ability to help you form blood clots benefits your health because it prevents excessive bleeding after you suffer tissue damage, and getting enough vitamin K prevents spontaneous bleeding, including nosebleeds or bleeding gums. Getting enough vitamin K in your diet also activates proteins essential for bone health, which keeps your skeleton strong. A 1-cup serving of sliced cucumber, with the peel on, offers approximately 17 micro-grams of vitamin K. This makes up 14 percent and 19 percent of the recommended daily intakes for men and women, respectively.
Assisting In Weight Loss:
Due to its low calorie and high water content, the cucumber is an ideal diet for people who are looking for weight loss. The high water content and dietary fiber in one cucumber is a very effective way of ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, aiding in digestion. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
In all honesty, when it comes to turmeric as of a year ago, I didn’t even know what the stuff was. Several friends of mine kept telling me that I need to check it out and start to incorporate it into my diet. After 2-3 months of this, I decided to fire up the laptop to see what this was all about and boy was I glad that I did! Turmeric is amazing and here’s why!
What Is Turmeric:
Turmeric is a culinary spice widely used in Southeast Asia. Recent research reveals why this herb is such a powerful healer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric powder is a bright yellow powder made by dry grinding of mature turmeric rhizomes (underground stems). The use of turmeric for coloring and flavoring food, for cosmetic purposes and for medicinal properties dates back to the ancient Vedic culture of India. Used in almost all Indian curries, this spice has almost no calories (1 tablespoon = 24 calories) and zero cholesterol. It is rich in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6!
While studies concerning the health benefits are still premature, early evidence has linked it to a host of health benefits, most of which are based on its most active component, curcumin, the compound that also gives turmeric its yellow-orange color. Turmeric is full of powerful antioxidants, including curcumin, which are known to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Most research done on the health benefits of turmeric have been done using curcumin, not the whole turmeric root. While the studies are promising, more research, especially those using human subjects, need to be done. So far, what we do know is that turmeric is known to be anti-inflammatory, can help with managing pain, brain health support and liver detoxification, among several other benefits.
Ok, so what’s the deal with canola oil? Would you cook with oil that comes from a seed that insects refuse to eat? Would you use industrial lubricating oils to cook food for your family? Most people would quickly answer “no” to both questions, yet they may unknowingly be using this product for cooking right now.
The dangers of cooking with canola oil are perhaps unknown by unsuspecting or uninformed consumers. New studies are proving the long term dangers of consumption of food products prepared with foods that have been genetically modified in laboratories. Canola oil is derived from genetically engineered rapeseed. The original purpose for this particular oil was for industrial lubrication use. Rapeseed is part of the mustard family. It is a toxic, poisonous weed that even insects won’t eat.
Is Canola Oil Healthy?
Canola is an acronym for Canada oil, low acid, and was contrived by the Canadian oil industry in 1978. Canadian scientists genetically modified the rapeseed plants for the express purpose of processing the oil for human consumption. It was cheap and easy to grow. In the 1970’s, the food super-companies were looking for substitutes for saturated fats, which were being blamed for heart and other health diseases, and Canada was set to fill the need with canola.
Natural rapeseed oil is poisonous to humans and animals. It contains high levels of erucic acid, which causes heart lesions and other problems. Reasons for the need to change the name for marketing purposes are obvious. Rapeseed has been used as a source of oil for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, but it was unprocessed cold-pressed oil.
Want to talk about a powerhouse super fruit, well, meet the goji berry! The goji berry, a sweet red fruit native to Asia, serves as both a botanical medicine and a food, and has a very pleasant taste – somewhere between a cherry and a cranberry. It has been used as a medicinal food for thousands of years, and has been studied extensively in modern times to substantiate its health benefits. With over 4g protein, 21 essential minerals, and 18 amino acids, as well as lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), the goji berry is a nutrient-dense superfood in a class all its own. I have a goji powder daily and here’s why!
Goji Berries And Eye Sight:
As diabetics we all understand how important it is to stay on top of our eye health. High blood sugars can wreak havoc of the small blood vessels that supply the eye. Taurine, a compound in goji berries, may be helpful in protecting eyes from diabetes related vision loss. It’s also rich in an antioxidant called zeaxanthin, which protects the retina by absorbing blue light.
Berries And Antioxidants:
Antioxidants are key elements in preventing damage of our cells by free radicals, or polluting molecules in our bodies. The total antioxidant power of goji berries, according to ORAC (oxygen radical absorbency capacity) tests used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is about 10 times that of blueberries; one of the highest levels in the food world.
Apples are undeniably good for you, especially if you have diabetes. Apples are high in the soluble fiber pectin, making them good at controlling blood sugar by releasing it a little more slowly into the bloodstream (no this does NOT replace insulin) nor do I recommend you stop taking your insulin, so lets just clear that up right now. In addition to helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel function, soluble fiber is thought to have an anti-inflammatory affect that may help diabetics recover faster from infections.
Apple Vitamin C Benefits:
Apples benefit your health by boosting your intake of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps you make collagen, a protein found abundantly in your skin. Collagen is a crucial structural component of skin and helps maintain your skin’s waterproof barrier. Low collagen production caused by vitamin C deficiency affects your skin, leading to a re-opening of old wounds and skin tearing. A large apple contains 10.3 milligrams of vitamin C, 14 percent of the daily vitamin C requirements for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, or 11 percent for men.
Apple and Cancer:
Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells — but apples are most potent when eaten whole (minus the stem and seeds, of course). People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42 percent, Italian researchers found.
Broccoli is known as the “king” of the cruciferous family (cabbage, cauliflower, etc.). It has a large stalk branching out to smaller stems with heads of florets, looking like a miniature tree close-up. Broccoli is packed with nutrients, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. It is also highly valued for its abundance of anti-viral, anti-ulcer and anti-cancer activities so lets take a closer look on why you should incorporate into your diet!
Broccoli And Fiber:
Rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive tract essentially unchanged, but helps keep you regular by adding bulk to your stool, preventing constipation and other digestive problems. Soluble fiber dissolves in liquid in your stomach, forming a gel that can slow digestion for better absorption of nutrients. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower both your blood cholesterol and blood glucose, reducing your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. High in both types of fiber. A 1/2-cup serving has a total fiber content of 2.4 grams, with soluble and insoluble fiber in equal proportions. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that adult men and women consume about 38 and 25 grams of fiber, respectively, each day.
Broccoli And Cancer Prevention:
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, this amazing vegetable contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.
Now we should all be aware by now that salt should probably be avoided when it comes to sitting down for a meal. The next time you have the urge to grab that shaker on the kitchen table, think about this. Sodium Benzoate is a sodium salt that occurring naturally in some foods, but is also widely used as a chemical preservative. It is used mainly as a food preservative, but is also found in cosmetics, dyes, pharmaceuticals, industrial settings. Sodium Benzoate is a common ingredient in highly processed foods such as carbonated sodas, vinegar, fruit juices; in mixed ingredients like salad dressings; and to stop the fermentation process in wines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Protection Branch in Canada (HPB) report that in low doses it is safe for consumption, although when combined with ascorbic acid it forms the chemical benzene, a suspected carcinogen.
Sodium Benzoate In Food:
Sodium Benzoate preserves food by having anti-fungal properties, protecting foods from invasion by fungi that cause food to spoil and potentially make you sick. Sodium Benzoate works by entering the individual cells in the food and balancing its pH level, increasing the overall acidity of the food. By lowering the intracellular pH of certain foods, sodium Benzoate creates an environment in which fungi cannot grow and spread.