Artificial Sweeteners and Cravings
Food science has created some real frankenfoods over the last few decades. The goal of better preservation, better taste, color and consistency has led science to create many foods and food additives that would not normally be found in nature. Two of these additives that may have the most detrimental effect on your body is MSG and aspartame. MSG or Mono-Sodium Glutamate is a natural food byproduct that was first used by Asian cultures as a flavor enhancer. It causes almost any flavor to become more vibrant and taste better. However, it is really tricking your brain into thinking that the food tastes good, and it can have some serious consequences when consumed. It is most often found in processed foods, mass-produced snacks and is still used as a powerful food additive in some Asian and ethnic restaurants.
Aspartame is a science lab project that was created to replace sugar with a chemical that can be mass produced and used as a sweetener and flavor-enhancer. It is most often found in diet foods and diet soft drinks and has been shown to have multiple side effects that range from relatively benign to very serious.
Both of these food additives can trick the brain into thinking that something sweet is being consumed or that more calories than are actually in the food are consumed. This trick in the brain can have a consequences that actually lead to greater calorie consumption and an increase in cravings. When the body is expecting a caloric load from a food product to be used for energy to do activities and the actual food had been artificially modified to be “zero” calories, the body is stimulated to seek out other sources of calories. This can lead to binge eating and consumption of exactly the wrong types of foods.
These substances can also have very severe side effects from their consumption alone. Food allergy symptoms, irritability, headaches, visual disturbances, fuzzy thinking and confusion, and many other symptoms have been associated with the consumption of these artificial sweeteners and food additives. This, and the cravings that are stimulated by the additives, is the reason that I would avoid products that contain these additives.
If you notice that you experience a symptom following the use of a food; that is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong with your choice. If you see that the repetitive use of a product containing MSG or aspartame is leading to headaches, dehydration, stomach ache or other digestive changes, you may be especially sensitive to the additive and consumption should be stopped immediately. We have seen many patients symptoms improve dramatically when they reduce the consumption of aspartame and MSG.
These products are quite prevalent in the food industry so it is very important that you read the labels of the foods that you consume to ensure that they are not “hiding” in your diet. IF you would like more information on the nutritional information that is provided by Benchmark Medical Group, please contact us to find out when our next complimentary nutritional lecture will be held. Remember that you are what you eat, and if you have health conditions that are chronic and not improving, it may be something that you are eating every day! By changing your diet and improving your overall physical fitness, chronic health conditions can often be reversed.
Dr. Jason W. Haas