Thursday, March 19, 2009
Yes, I know this is a "tax & accounting" driven blog...so, why am I writing about artificial sweeteners?
1) I have a unique and interesting viewpoint on them that I would like to share with my readers
2) The best investment that anyone can make is an investment in their health. With the powers of compounding interest, adding just one year to your life could result in putting hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in your pockets before you die that you can pass on to your heirs.
With that being said, here is my take on artificial sweeteners...
Everyone I know who opts for an artificial sweetener over sugar does so for weight loss or weight control reasons...because unlike sugar, artifical sweeteners contain no calories and negligible amounts of carbohydrates. However, it is my non-medical opinion that artificial sweeteners such as those found in "diet" soda, other "diet" drinks, chewing gum, "low-fat" and "fat-free" items, etc. actually prevent weight loss and weight control.
Health experts have argued this citing two main reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners and I would like to bring forth a third reason, one that makes more sense to me and one that hit home about a year ago causing me to swear off artificial sweeteners for good.
The two main reasons why health experts say we should avoid artificial sweeteners:
1) They contain chemical compounds that "are not good for us." Between causing cancer and other damage to the kidney and liver, they are toxic and should not be ingested
2) They cause us to crave actual sugar. By tasting sweet, our brain is triggered to send signals to our body to "get ready to digest sugar." When that sugar never comes, our body is left with insulin and other hormones that did not get to do their job, so we begin to crave actual sugar, causing some of us to give in to those cravings and eat sugary foods.
While both of these arguments are valid, I don't think either one is strong enough to actually prevent people from giving up artificial sweeteners in favor of sugar.
However, here is the third argument, the one that resulted in me giving up Sweet'N Low and other artificial sweeteners:
Artifical sweeteners are not natural products and they have not been around long enough for humans to develop the ability to efficiently digest them. Therefore, when you ingest artificial sweeteners, your digestive system has to spend so much time and energy focusing on trying to break down these chemicals, that it does not get to spend enough time digesting fats and simple carbohydrates. The more fats and simple carbohydrates that go undigested, the fatter you will get.
Whether you eat artificial sweeteners or not and whether or not you choose to make any changes to your artifical sweeteners because of this argument, I do hope that you take the time to change at least one thing about your health. A step towards good health is certainly a terrific investment. And in an economy like this, we're all looking for the next great investment!
Posted by Michael Hanley, CPA at 10:46 AM