Artificial sweeteners are prevalent in today’s society, and the teenagers in any school, not to mention undergraduates, grad students, post grad students, and young adults fresh into the working field are no exception from falling prey to these deadly ingredients. Deceived by the phrases “All Natural” and “Sugar-free,” students willingly put manmade powders into their bodies and unconsciously wreck havoc on their digestive systems. It’s a well-known epigram that eating sugar while under stress helps you think well. Students working hard on studies, as many schools prioritize, as well as aspiring young workers mindlessly cram things they think are ‘good’ for you into their mouths.
Today, with the technological advances made throughout the world, it's no surprise artificial sweeteners were invented and then popularized. Yogurts, ice cream, chewing gum, jellies, candies, fruit juice, soft drinks and even tiny seemingly harmless mints can pack a powerful punch when it comes to synthetic sweet substances. While studying tirelessly for an AP test, or trying to complete a Law-School assignment before the clock ticks midnight, it’s easy to forget what exactly it is you’re grabbing for to satisfy your sudden cravings.
Some of you may be thinking, ‘That’s right, I do this. But so what? A little bit won’t hurt me.’ That may be true, but a little goes a long way. Think about all the times you pull all-nighters, all the midnight snacks you eat. All those little bits will add to severe problems in adulthood- and not just in digestion.
When asked what she knows about artificial sweeteners, a current undergraduate junior says “I know they’re bad for you, but not, like, what the types are or what happens to you if you eat them.” In hopes of enlightening more of this student body, I have compiled a list of the most common artificial sweeteners in today’s society: aspartame, acesulfame K, xylitol, monk fruit extract, and stevia. These faux sugars are hiding just under our noses, present (in addition to the above) in many toothpastes, gummy vitamins, alcoholic beverages, and salad dressings. If the label reads “Lite,” or “100-calorie” when the product should be higher in kcal content, throw it out immediately.
Moving on to the scarier side, the side effects can be dangerous. Consumption of artificial sweeteners can cause high blood glucose levels; studies have shown that regular ingestion leads to diabetes and a resistance to insulin, the hormone that stabilizes the body in high blood sugar situations. According to a health study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “adolescents who consumed substances with artificial sweeteners ran a higher risk of metabolic problems than their non-artificial sweetener eating counterparts.” So before you shove that stick of sweet “no sugar content” gum in your mouth, think about how that action could affect your body.