There is a lot of discussion regarding artificial sweeteners and the reasons we don’t like seeing them in meal replacement shakes. One may ask the question, is it really that bad? Isn’t it better and healthier than using real sugar? Here we take a look at the reasons why this has become such a controversial ingredient.
First of all, there are several different artificial sweeteners that meal replacement shakes use, and you should know what they are so you know what to look for and avoid! These artificial sweeteners include aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), acesulfame potassium, and neotame. Some artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, are artificially derived from natural sugar, but still have the same negative health effects as other artificial sweeteners.
On the positive side, artificial sweeteners have zero calories in them, which is why so many people use them to sweeten their drinks and why so many shake companies use them to sweeten their shakes. Additionally, shake companies can advertise their products as “sugar-free”, which is incredibly appealing to consumers looking for a great diet shake. Artificial sweeteners can be a good option for those with diabetes, as they don’t raise blood sugar levels. Artificial sweeteners also cost less than natural sweeteners, so a manufacturer can create their formula for less money and sell it for less money to a wider audience, therefore, making a profit.
Now for the negatives: there are a lot of studies that have linked artificial sweeteners with health issues such as cancer, tumors, fatigue, memory loss, headache, nausea, joint pain, and many more. The reason for this is because of how the components break down in your body. Aspartame has probably the worst reputation of them all. It is made up of 3 components: phenylalanine (makes up 50% of the chemical by weight), aspartic acid (40%), and methanol, or wood alcohol (10%). The breakdown products that this turns into is what is harmful to your body – whether it’s during transport, on the shelf in the store, or while metabolizing. Almost all of this turns into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a toxin that is found in paint remover. This can cause cancer.
Overall, it is safer to just avoid shakes that have artificial sweeteners in them. There are many shakes on the market right now that do not include these toxic ingredients and that contain natural sweeteners – you may end up paying a little more for them, but at the end of the day, staying healthy is your number 1 priority – your body will thank you!