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Monday March 23, 2009 10:33 am

Artificial sweeteners in the most unexpected places

Posted by Colleen McKie Categories: Advice, Cuisine, Health,

About two years ago I decided to cut out all artificial sweeteners that weren’t plant based out of my diet.  No more aspartame, sucralose or sorbitol for me.  The decision was arrived at after I did a bit of reading and came to realize that none of these products were originally designed to be consumed.  The discovery of their usability as sweeteners was accidental., and they contain all kinds of bads stuff making them generally not very good for our bodies.  I’m not big on ingesting toxins (like the ones found in aspartame)  or eating loads of laxatives(sorbitol) so I’ve cut them out of my diet.  But once that decision was made, I came to realize just how prevalent artificial sweeteners are.Artificial Sweeteners - Splenda & Equal

Bye bye gum
Almost all gum, except for bubble gum, has artificial sweeteners in it.  So I haven’t had any of the breath freshening gums in almost two years.  At first it was hard, but after a while I didn’t even miss it anymore.  Now, I rarely ever think about the fact that I no longer chew gum.  And if I need to freshen my breath, I have a mint.  After checking to make sure it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners, of course!

Water anyone?
I am one of those people who hates the taste of water.  I know that I don’t get my daily amount and I was thrilled when, a few years ago, different companies started putting out flavoured water.  I loved them and found that I was having no problem getting in my eight glasses of H2O a day.  Then I started reading the labels.  Yep, you guessed it: artificial sweeteners in almost all of them.  Danone does have an all natural water, but it’s almost impossible to get where I live. 

So now I squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice in my water.  It tastes great, and I don’t have to worry about artificial sweeteners.  I also drink a lot of herbal tea, which helps because hot beverages count toward your daily water intake, as long as they don’t contain any caffeine.

Sweet fish
I am deathly allergic to lobster and crab, but I love the taste of them.  So when I used to get a hankering for seafood I would buy simulated crab meat and that would take care of the craving.  Sure, it doesn’t taste exactly like lobster, but it was close enough for me.  And heated, dipped in garlic butter?  Pure Heaven.

But once I started paying closer attention to what I was eating, I was shocked to read the label and
discover that it had sorbitol in it. I was very disappointed and curious as to why seafood would need to have artificial sweetener added.  Never have I had once said, “Gee I want something sweet.  Fake crab meat it is!”. So, there goes that food.  I haven’t had any in ages and, as with the gum, I no longer miss it.

Cough, cold and sorbitol?
I recently came down with a pretty bad cold and nasty cough.  I was okay during the day, sucking on mints and drinking tea, but was having a hard time sleeping at night.  So I went to the pharmacy to buy some cough syrup.

Did you know that almost ALL cough syrups have artificial sweeteners in them?  Well, they do!  I searched for half an hour and finally left empty handed, heading home to cough my head off through the night.  The next morning I headed to my favourite grocery store that has a wonderfully large natural food section and found a natural cough syrup, Nin Jiom.  I was pleasantly surprised with the taste, a nice mix of menthol and honey, and it worked wonders.  Better than some of the other cough syrups I’ve tried over the years.  And because it was all natural, there weren’t any other unwanted chemicals or medicines in it.  And a 250 ml bottle cost ten dollars, so it was very reasonably priced, too.

Always be wary
If you have decided, like me, to cut artificial sweeteners out of your life, be wary:  they can show up in the most unexpected places.



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