Ever heard the phrase, ‘there are too many people counting calories and not enough counting chemicals’? Thousands of books have been published on diets that restrict calories and apps, like the calorie counter, have been created to assist with weight management. What most people don’t know is you don’t have to count calories to lose weight or to be healthy.
You just have to:
- Eat whole foods
- Stay away from anything in a packet
- Don’t eat anything that has an ingredient you don’t recognize
- Eat as many fruit and vegetables as you can
Unfortunately, we are bombarded every single day with advertisements from multi-billion dollar food companies that want to sell us their products. At the train station, bus-stop, billboards, on the radio, television and internet we are constantly slammed with food advertisements.
Ever noticed that we’re never bombarded with a bunch of ads for kale or strawberries?
What if these companies were forced to tell the truth about their products while advertising them? Well, they wouldn’t make much money…
It’s true, the high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks is bad for health as the liver metabolizes it straight into fat. It also has major hormonal implications, contributing to metabolic syndrome: the umbrella term for a collection of conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
OK, we know that soft drink/soda is bad for you. But do you know what’s worse?
Diet & Zero-calorie soda.
If sugar doesn’t give zero-calorie soda it’s sweetness, then what does? There are many out there, but a favourite used by Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s ‘diet’ and ‘zero’ products is N-L-alpha-Aspartyl-L-phenylalanine 1-methyl ester; also known as aspartame, additive 951, NutraSweet, Equal, Berevia and Spoonful.
If there is any chemical you should avoid in your food, it should be aspartame.
Cockroaches, cats, dogs, flies and even ants won’t even go near aspartame because they instinctively know it’s poison. As aspartame is a large molecule, our gut breaks it down into 3 chemicals; methanol (what methylated spririts & fuel is made from – yikes!), phenylalanine and aspartic acid. As aspartame is further metabolized, it breaks down into dangerous by-products. Methanol produces toxic and carcinogenic formaldehyde (embalming fluid and nail polish) and formic acid (poison from ant stings).
Phenylalanine is an amino acid and is essential to human health. However, in its isolated form in diet drinks, studies have shown it has the potential to be quite dangerous with an increased cancer risk. Aspartic acid is another naturally occuring ‘excitatory’ amino acid. But, because it is isolated from other amino acids, it becomes unbalanced with ‘inhibitory’ amino acids (proteins that calm things down). A 2013 study found that this can over-stimulate brain cells leading to degeneration of astrocytes and neurons (cells in the brain) and can even cause brain lesions (as found in animal studies).
If we are consuming products without calories, then why are we getting fatter?
It’s postulated that aspartame in ‘diet’ products can alter our gut microflora and mess with metabolism. Just last month, a study found a potential link between our gut bacteria and aspartame. Aspartame causes hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and impairs the body’s ability to respond to insulin – the hormone that takes sugar out of the blood and transports it to cells so it can be used as energy. There is also a link between obesity and consumption of artificially sweetened beverages because the fake sugar triggers carbohydrate cravings – a bit counter-intuitive, huh?
Food For Thought
Artificial sweeteners are exactly what the name implies – artificial. If you want to be healthy, just eat real food! Pay more attention to labels the next time you’re in the supermarket and you will be amazed at what some of the ingredients are in your food. Remember: if you don’t know the name (or the number), put it back!
If you liked my post on counting chemicals, let me know! There are so many added food chemicals out there, it would take a life-time to write about them all!
I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend!
Love Stace x
*Photo courtesy of Pinterest