When I tell someone that I have diabetes they immediately assume that everything I eat and drink is “sugar free” because they think diabetics can’t, shouldn’t, have sugar. How many of you have gotten this too?
While I agree that people with diabetes (type 1 and 2) should limit sugar intake I don’t agree that “sugar free” foods are a loophole to dive down.
The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are HEAVILY pushed in the diabetes community. When I got diagnosed in 2008 my nutritionist had half her office dedicated to a “sugar free wall”. She must have had over 100 different kinds of food (if you’d even call it that), drinks, and candies that were all labeled as “sugar free”. With a big smile on her face and her arms spreading wide, as if trying to stretch as long as the wall, she told me this was going to be my world now. I remember staring blankly at the wall. Even back then I knew this is NOT food, this is NOT nutrition, this is NOT health.
Now that was 2008. Do you think things have changed in what they recommend?
If you guessed NO, you’d be right.
Why doctors and nutritionists are STILL pushing sugar free on diabetics when all of the science is screaming RUN AWAY. RUN FAR FAR AWAY is beyond me.
So what does the science say?
1. They Can (and do) Raise Blood Sugar
I know what you’re thinking, Wait…. What?!
Study upon study upon study is proving that artificial sweeteners, which are supposed to have NO effect on blood sugar, are in fact raising blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetics.
Artificial sweeteners also have a negative effect on fasting blood sugar numbers. Raising them, in both non-diabetics and diabetics (both type 1 and 2)
In my own personal experience, when I would eat “sugar free” I could not get a handle on my sugars. The highs and lows were crazy. Some days my body would spike from sugar free and other days it would have no effect. I never knew how my body was going to process it – it became a guessing game every time. Which in the world of diabetes, guessing games are not a game you want to play – who else feels me?
2. They Destroy Gut Health
Artificial sweeteners absolutely destroooooooy your gut health, and since 80% of your immune system is in your gut, and since there is a direct connection between gut health and brain health, this is very concerning.
Gut health is essential to your overall health. Those little bacteria moving around in your gut influence everything from how well you can fight off a cold, to the quality of your skin, to how well your brain works. It can be an influencer to whether or not you’ll develop an autoimmune disease (or a second or third one if you already have one), or if you’ll have food allergies, or if you’ll have mood disorders like anxiety, depression, ADD, etc..
Your gut is the core of your health. Destroy it, and you will destroy your health.
3. They Cause Weight Gain
This happens in two ways. One being that consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to decrease satiety and revs up hunger. And two being that that changes your microbiome in the gut affecting your body’s ability to break down, use, store, and eliminate food. Just check out some of the studies that prove this time and time again.
Ever eat a sugar free cookie and immediately want another, and another, and another? That’s the #sugarfreetrap
4. They Are MORE Dangerous When Heated
Another unsettling fact is that when heated, like in cooking or baking, artificial sweeteners turn into a melting pot of toxins (chloropropanols and dioxin – more specifically) that disrupt the endocrine system. This is an issue for everyone but especially for those who already have endocrine problems, like diabetes, adrenal imbalances, or thyroid issues.
If you’re thinking, “back up, what is a dioxin?” Dioxin was one of the toxic components of the “Agent Orange” used to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War. It is easily one of the top most dangerous chemicals known to man. So while yes, Splenda is made from sugar, it’s more chemically similar to DDT than it is sugar.
Bottom Line on Artificial Sugars
I choose to STAY AWAY, FAR, FAR away from artificial sweeteners.
Instead, I choose to nourish my body with healthy foods, instead of crap created in a lab.
There are boatloads of recipes that are low carb without the use of artificial sweeteners. Check out some of my personal favorites: