Artificially Sweet



     Coffee is a big part of the latin culture. Individuals tend to have a cup after every meal and its often used as a social vehicle and an excuse for a little gossip session between women. My mother, an avid coffee drinker, used artificial sweeteners in every cup for about 12 years. She tried everything from Splenda to Equal to Sweet n' Low but after multiple health risks were exposed as a result of consuming these, she chose to stop; specifically because it was reported that it could lead to alzheimer's, a disease that had already manifested itself in my grandmother. 

     Despite the alleged health risks, people still use these sweeteners. I see them everywhere from the commons to the Starbucks in the hub. I was curious to find out whether or not these health risks were mere fabrications or fact, so I decided to do a little research.

     The first of these artificial sweeteners was called NutraSweet and contained Aspartame, which is an artificial non- saccharide sweetener of which 40% is Aspartic Acid. "Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells." 

    The other chemical content present in artificial sweeteners  such as Splenda is Monosodium Glutamate, which increases the amount on insulin produced by the pancreas. According to what I found online, excessive glutamate in the brain kills glutamate receptors and neurons connected to it, which ultimately has huge implications for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
   I found multiple articles and blog posts exposing this information, but I still questioned whether it was true since none of it seemed to be completely reliable.

      According to an article by Time Magazine, scientists have yet to reach a consensus on whether artificial sweeteners are really bad for you. It seems all the alleged health risks are merely internet rumors, since the substance has been tested more than 200 times, and each time it has been reported that it is safe to ingest. Nevertheless, it does adversely affect people who are unable to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. There are some correlations between artificial sweeteners and obesity, but that's about it. There's no concrete evidence that it may cause Alzheimer's or any other disease for that matter.

    It's up to individuals to decide whether they want to use artificial sweeteners or not. For the time being, I personally am all for them. Zero calories and a sweet taste? Doesn't sound bad to me at all. 


As a rational person I would not stop using artificial sweeteners. The fact that they have no calories make them even more appealing. Until they find actual evidence between Alzheimer's and these sweeteners I will not stop using them. It is because of rumors like this why certain aspects of science have yet to be improved. Something is believed to be true without the implementation of the scientific method and is kept that way until someone bold enough decides to think outside the box. For this reason I will apply rational thinking to my everyday life until there is actual science that serves as a basis for whatever belief is being accepted as truth.

I found this to be very interesting. I personally love splenda and always use it in my coffee because a little goes a long way. But maybe when it comes to artificial sweeteners, it's one of those things that you shouldn't overindulge on. I found this article that says that artificial sweeteners may even cause cancer(like everything else in this world.) Some artificial sweeteners have something called saccharin which in the 1970's was linked to giving bladder cancer to rats and even carried a warning label at a point. That's actually really scary. If it once carried a warning label what makes it safe now? Here's the rest of the article if you're interested!

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