America is familiar with the dangers of artificial sweeteners: cancer, obesity, fatigue, etc. But how can sugar substitutes affect people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases? Sugar substitutes such as aspartame have been linked to progression in brain lesions
in patients with MS. Aspartame elevates the levels of excitotoxins in the blood, which damages important cells that protect nerve endings in the brain. In patients with MS, the damage is even greater since they already have brain lesions present. 10% of the population (without MS) is still prone to the development of lesions due to the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Diets with excessive consumption of aspartame can convert disease-free individuals into MS-like patients. These patients usually show physical symptoms associated with MS, such as tingling, numbness, muscular spasms, and migraines. While the evidence is frightening, revamping your diet doesn’t need to be complicated. Below I have outlined the products to be cautious of, and I have also suggested a natural sugar alternative to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Aspartame is most commonly found in yogurts, diet sodas, gum, cooking sauces, sweeteners, flavored water, cereals, and any form of sugar-free products. Make sure to read labels while shopping at the grocery store.
Fortunately, today there are healthier sugar alternatives available, such as monk fruit sweetener. Used for centuries in Southeast Asia to treat diabetes and obesity, the monk fruit has a low glycemic index, which keeps blood sugar levels low and does not cause fatigue. Monk fruit has 150x the sweetness of sugar, and is only 3 calories per serving.
Monk fruit comes in extract, packet, and scoopable form, and is sold at most health food stores.
Jennifer Vittori–Autoimmune Allyby