Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies
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Artificial sweeteners are detrimental to the sugar addict because they work by causing neuro-excitation in a part of the brain that causes people to perceive a sweet taste. The danger is that these chemical sweeteners overstimulate the neurons to the point where they basically self-destruct. You literally get brain damage from these chemicals!

MSG and NutraSweet are especially dangerous for babies (both in and out of the womb) because infants’ brains aren’t yet protected by the blood-brain barrier. A possible explanation for the enormous rise of autism in American children is the mothers’ use of these chemicals while pregnant (and the prevalence of these chemicals in processed food for babies and toddlers).

If you’re pregnant or have small children, you should investigate the research on artificial sweeteners in such journals as the Journal of Child Neurology, Biomedica Biochimica Acta, the International Journal of Neuroscience, and the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Problems with monosodium glutamate (MSG) for the sugar addict

Most folks are aware that MSG is bad news. Here’s why:

  • Brain damage: Excessive glutamate in the brain kills glutamate receptors and neurons connected to it. This has huge implications for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

  • Hypothalamus damage: The hypothalamus controls other endocrine glands like the thyroid, adrenal glands, and so on.

  • Increased appetite: The pro-MSG lobbying website used to boast that one of the benefits of MSG for food manufacturers was that it caused people to eat more of their products.

  • Retinal cell damage: MSG has been proven to cause retinal lesions.

  • Weight gain: MSG increases the amount of insulin that the pancreas produces and causes leptin resistance. One of the standard laboratory practices to create obese mice and rats is to inject them with MSG. They’re even referred to as monosodium-glutamate-obese rats in the research reports!

Because MSG gets so much bad publicity, food manufacturers hide it behind these names:

  • Hydrolyzed oat flour

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Malt flavoring

  • Natural beef (or chicken) flavoring

  • Natural flavoring

  • Plant protein extract

  • Sodium caseinate

  • Spices

  • Textured vegetable protein

  • Yeast extract

Problems with aspartame (NutraSweet) for the sugar addict

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that was discovered by accident in 1965. Aspartame is composed of two amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) and is 200 times as sweet as table sugar. Commonly labeled as NutraSweet, it is often found in diet soft drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, and sugar-free mixes like puddings and yogurts. Although it’s nearly calorie-free, ingesting large amounts of aspartame may have some dangerous effects:

  • Brain damage: Like MSG, aspartame kills glutamate receptors and neurons connected to it.

  • Brain tumors: In experiments to test the safety of aspartame before its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), animals that were fed NutraSweet developed 25 times as many brain tumors as the control animals.

  • Increased appetite: NutraSweet suppresses the production of serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that makes you feel full and satisfied. When your serotonin levels aren’t allowed to rise as they normally do when you eat, you crave more and more food.

  • Methanol (wood alcohol): Aspartame is 10 percent methanol, which, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “can give rise to formaldehyde, diketopiperazine [a carcinogen], and a number of other highly toxic derivatives.”

Problems with Sucralose (Splenda) for the sugar addict

The good news about sucralose is that it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier, so it shouldn’t cause brain damage. The bad news is that Splenda, the most common sucralose sweetener, is a chlorocarbon, which is a known carcinogen (and is used as a pesticide, too). Chlorocarbons have long been known for causing organ, genetic, and reproductive damage.

The FDA approved Splenda as a sweetener in 1998. The approval was based on more than 110 animal and human safety studies. Out of these 110 studies, only 2 were human studies, consisting of a combined total of 36 people, of which only 23 people ingested sucralose. Additionally, the longest of these human trials lasted only four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human toxicity.

The testing of sucralose reveals that it can cause up to 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus, a gland that’s vital to your immune system.

In animal studies, Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, acidifies the intestines, and contributes to increases in body weight. It also affects the P-glycoprotein in the body in such a way that certain medications (chemotherapy, AIDS treatment, and drugs for heart conditions) may be rejected by shunting them back into the intestines rather than absorbing them by the body as intended.

What should sugar addicts do?

Don’t eat or drink products with these chemicals (or their hidden pseudonyms) on the label.

Proper nutrition may help protect your brain. The vitamin E and selenium in nuts and seeds and the anthocyanins in grapes and berries can play a protective role. There’s also good research on the neuroprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and supplemental acetyl l-carnitine.

If you must eat or drink something with MSG or NutraSweet, make sure you have some carbohydrates in your system. The damage that these chemicals cause to your brain is much worse when your glucose levels are low. One of the worst things you can do to your brain is drink a diet soda on an empty stomach!

About This Article

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Dan DeFigio is one of the most respected names in the fitness and nutrition industry. His articles have appeared in numerous professional journals, and his workshops have been presented in many cities across the United States. He has appeared on the Dr. Phil show and was featured in SELF Magazine, MD News, Personal Fitness Professional, and a host of other publications.

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