Tag Archives: artificial sweeteners

What Exactly is Clean Eating?

on diet

The term ‘clean eating’ has grown in popularity in the weight loss world as people are beginning to take more of an active interest in the quality of food they are eating instead of just the quantity, and how where their food comes from can effect not only their waistlines, but more importantly, their health.

Clean eating is based on the principle of consuming whole, single ingredient foods to provide the body with as many nutrients as possible while eliminating any processing your food goes through from the time it is harvested to the time it hits your table. The idea is to eat your food as close to its natural form as possible to maintain its nutrient density and avoid harmful and unnecessary additives that can jeopardize your health. By doing this, we can avoid several dieting pitfalls and health effects that come with food processing. Basically, if it comes with a nutrition label, skip it, even if it’s marketed as or popularly considered a “healthy” choice. If it ever passed through a processing plant it is not considered a clean food.

While the focus is on consuming whole foods to provide your body with the best nutrition possible, there is no denying that choosing whole, nutrient dense foods over processed junk will also aid in weight loss, making it a successful dieting strategy for those interested in learning and implementing proper nutrition, making it a more successful, well-rounded approach to food and nutrition over all.


Pepsi’s New Mountain Dew Kickstart is Not a Healthy Breakfast Choice

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Pepsi tries to sell us on Mountain Dew for breakfast.

PepsiCo announced Monday it will be releasing a new “breakfast” drink. Mountain Dew Kickstart is a Mountain Dew-flavored fruit juice drink that will be available in two flavors: Energizing Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch, according to USA Today.

  • Mountain Dew’s vice president of marketing, Greg Lyons, explained Kickstart was born out of consumer demand. “Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages – one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days.” (more…)

Sweet ‘n Sad: Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Depression Risk

A study from the American Academy of Neurology has found a link between sweetened drinks and a higher risk of depression, with diet soda being the highest risk. Conversely, unsweetened coffee got kudos for appearing to decrease the depression risk.

“Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical — and may have important mental — health consequences,” said study researcher Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., an investigator in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Researchers studied the drinking habits of 263,925 people between 50 and 71 years old for a year. After a decade they checked back in with them and found 11,311 participants were diagnosed with depression. Frequently consuming sweetened drinks was linked to a modestly higher risk of depression. (more…)

Diet Pepsi’s New Sweetener is Still No Reason to Drink Diet Soda

There’s a new Diet Pepsi in several cities around the U.S., which now lists a new ingredient on the cans and bottles. It’s called acesulfame potassium, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K.

This quiet change is apparently not going to change the taste of the soda, but is meant to add shelf life by allowing the “fresh” taste and flavor to last longer. The project’s goal is to give the old/current base sweetener (aspartame) a jump kick because of its sensitivity to heat and susceptibility to breaking down. Ace K has proven to be less sensitive to heat.

So what exactly is Ace K? Acesulfame potassium is another form of an artificial sweetener that is calorie free and about 200 times as sweet as everyday table sugar. Due to its slightly bitter aftertaste, it is often mixed with other artificial sweeteners (in this case it was mixed with Diet Pepsi’s aspartame). It’s often found in many baked goods, processed foods and other soft drinks similar to Diet Pepsi.

“Aspartame breaks down during storage especially when the temperature is high (that’s why you can’t bake with it) and so this is a good move on Pepsi’s part,” said our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD. “The move has nothing to do with the safety of aspartame, which has been found to be safe in scientific studies time and again.”

That might be one positive factor, but is it enough to make it OK to be consuming the other harmful ingredients listed on the back? (more…)

Doctor Oz Kicks Artificial Sweeteners to the Curb

Are artificial sweeteners doing more damage than good to your health? On October 8th’s episode, Dr. Oz talked about sugar and butter substitutes to set the record straight on what they are, how they affect your body, and if they are harmful.Dr. Oz Show Logo

Dr. Oz cuts right to the chase with three questions he’s asked about artificial sweeteners over and over: Do they cause cancer? Can they cause weight gain? and Are they addictive?

For the first time, Oz links artificial sweeteners to metabolic syndrome, a dangerous epidemic he says is sweeping the nation. Metabolic syndrome consists of high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and insulin resistance. Oz examines the links between artificial sweeteners and Alzheimer’s as well. He decides that the risks outweigh any perceived benefits when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Finally, something we can agree with Oz on. (more…)

Food Fight: Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners

About a year ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas with my husband, eating a vegan oatmeal cookie and doing some reading online. One of the articles I came across was ‘Is Sugar Toxic?‘ by The New York Times. And by the time I finished the 6,000+ word story, I was deeply regretting that cookie.

The article discussed the research of Dr. Robert Lustig – a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California – who has deemed sugar as the major cause of most of the health-related diseases Americans are facing today like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. And he believes 75% of these diseases are preventable if we’d just cut back on the sweet stuff.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently did a special on Dr. Lustig on 60 Minutes, and the story seemed to catch the attention of other media outlets. This has brought the ‘sugar is toxic’ discussion back full circle, forcing Americans once again to consider whether or not it’s their sugar habit that’s making them sick. (more…)

Pepsi Next: Fewer Calories but Creates More Concern

Pepsi just officially released its newest beverage: Pepsi Next.

Pepsi says the new beverage has 60 percent less sugar and 60 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi. But, in order to keep the sweetness but reduce the amount of sugar and calories, Pepsi Next features all of the sugar substitutes it has into one beverage. It combined high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

This is quite the sweetener combo and if you are like most, seeing this list may make you wonder what you’re going to be chugging. Even though Pepsi Next does contain a lot of artificial sweeteners, the fact that it is only half the calories of regular Pepsi could be a plus for those who want to reduce their sugar intake and cut calories to lose weight or maintain their weight.

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips said in an email, “If someone were to replace one full calorie soda for a Pepsi Next each day, he or she would save 60 calories—that’s 420 calories a week. They may not lose weight, but they’ll certainly save nutrient-poor sugar calories and perhaps leave more room in the diet for more healthful foods like a small piece of fruit.”

Here is some quick info on these artificial sweeteners included in the Pepsi Next that you may want to know about:

Aspartame, also found in Diet Pepsi, is one of the more controversial artificial sweeteners out there. The FDA has claimed its research has not shown any adverse health complications from aspartame. But according to MedicineNet.com, there is some evidence suggesting headaches, depression, increased hunger, and even cancer can be related to consuming aspartame.

Sucralose, also found in Pepsi One, is most well known for its claim to be made from sugar. It is usually  found in Splenda and is 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). It is claimed to have no calories by itself. According to Sucralose.org, it is not a natural product. The website claims it is made from a chemically modified sugar molecule. The FDA reviewed studies in human beings and animals. It determined there was no evidence of it causing cancer and posed no risk to human health. According to MedicineNet, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose is set at 5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. So if you weighed 200 pounds, your ADI would be 455 mg. According to Pepsi’s product information for every 12 ounces, there is approximately 14 mg of sucralose. (more…)

Splenda Study Finds the Sweetener Alters Gut Microflora

In a recent study performed by Duke University on the artificial sweetener Splenda, research suggests that the sweetener causes adverse reactions to intestinal functions in rats.

Over a 12 week period, rats were given approved doses of Splenda, which is comprised of the high-potency artificial sweetener sucralose. Their fecal samples were collected weekly and tested for any changes. Test results showed several adverse reactions including:

  • the amount of good bacteria in the intestines was reduced
  • the pH level in the intestines increased
  • the sweetener interfered with the absorption of certain medications

The study went on to show that Splenda alters the gut microflora. This is significant because “gut microorganisms refer to beneficial bacteria that live (are alive!) in the intestines,” says our resident registered dietitian Mary Hartley, RD, MPH.


AminoSweet Announced as the New Name for Aspartame

It’s still Aspartame. Reminiscent of the recent High Fructose Corn Syrup name change, possibly in an effort to change our opinions, Aspartame will now be referred to as AminoSweet. Don’t fall for a more “natural” name – this stuff is still bad news. Hopes are that by using a more natural sounding name, consumers will feel more at ease with its pervasive use in more than 6,000 products.

Originally introduced more than 25 years ago, this “accidental discovery” has quickly taken over the food industry.  Two naturally-occurring amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) were first combined in an effort to produce an anti-ulcer drug. Pharmacist James Schlatter discovered that the new compound had a very sweet taste. The company was granted a change on its FDA approval application from drug to food additive. Thus, aspartame was born.