Although many individuals choose to use sugar alternatives in order to avoid excessive caloric intake, many synthetic sweeteners pose a significant risk to the human anatomy. Upon digestion of these chemicals, the subsequent constituents pose a risk for further reactions that are potentially toxic.
Before getting into the specific chemical risks associated with some sugar substitutes, it is important to understand the purpose and physical benefits that our bodies receive from sugar, otherwise known as glucose. Glucose is the primary fuel by which our cells create the energy that is necessary to function. Our neural cells within the brain need glucose to stimulate the firing patterns that are associated with cognition and physical activity. Many cells within the body need glucose so they can transport the nutrients that are necessary for cellular repair and reproduction. When we consume natural sugar instead of another alternative, we are fueling our bodies with the most pure and easily digestible form of energy that is absolutely required for basic function.
Aspartame, one of the most prevalent sugar alternatives used in processed foods, does not break down into chemically beneficial components. In fact, the combination of products created upon the digestion of aspartame actually combine to form formaldehyde! The human body produces a very minute amount of formaldehyde on a fairly regular basis, however, this chemical is potentially deadly, and someone who consistently consumes a significant amount of aspartame is certainly at risk for negative effects that are directly associated with formaldehyde. Even though the body is capable of breaking down the formaldehyde as it is formed, the resulting product can lead to methanol poisoning. (See also) In addition to posing a toxic risk, excessive aspartame consumption has been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Aside from aspartame, sucralose is another popular sugar substitute that isn’t necessarily the safest for human consumption. Although it does not create toxic counterparts, there are portions of this synthetic chemical that our bodies cannot completely digest. If the digestive enzymes found within the human stomach are corrosive enough to eat through the metal hood of a car, but not able to break down a synthetic sugar substitute, something is to be said about that particular chemical. Not to mention, rodent studies conducted on sucralose safety suggest that it can be someone harmful to the reproductive and nervous systems.
Considering the potential health hazards and safety risks associated with chemically created alternative sweeteners, the concern with the numerical amount of calories found in sugar is just trivial. In fact, there are plenty of natural sugar substitutes like honey, agave, and stevia that are not comprised of potentially harmful compounds.