In the wake of sugar gaining an increasingly bad reputation, artificial sweeteners have become known as the “better” option. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see the small sachet’s of these sweeteners in restaurants or coffee shops – but they’re not as beneficial as they seem.
In fact, further studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are capable of causing side effects; such as headaches, sickness  and birth defects .
In this article, you’ll learn :
- What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
- Why They’re Used
- Side Effects
- Natural Alternatives
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
You’ve probably heard of them before, but this is for those that aren’t aware. Simply put, artificial sweeteners are chemical substances that are being used to replace sugar in many products – including pre-workouts and other gym supplements.
Artificial sweeteners experienced a rise in popularity after many became worried about the health risks of consuming too much sugar. In fact, they were actually created to combat obesity levels by reducing sugar consumption .
From first glance, these products seem very beneficial – we’ll explain the different reasons why they’re seen as the perfect replacement for sugar below.
Why They’re Used
The quick explanation for why artificial sweeteners are being used by increasing numbers is this: due to them being up to 600 times sweeter than sugar (depending on the type of sweetener).
Not only that, they’re also marketed as being zero or low-calorie; this makes it very appealing to those on a diet, and is even recommended by numerous diet programs.
Here’s a list of the most common artificial sweeteners used in products:
- Acesulfame K
So at the moment, you might be thinking that artificial sweeteners are indeed a great replacement for sugar. However, what isn’t often advertised, it the potential risks you face when consuming these chemical substances.
We’ll take you through the reported side effects of each sweetener in the next section.
At the start of this article, we mentioned that artificial sweeteners can cause side effects such as headaches, sickness and birth defects. However, we didn’t mention any specific types of sweeteners.
Well, now you now that there are numerous different types, we’ll take you through each one; as well as the side effects they pose individually.
Take a look:
Aspartame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that’s up to 200 times sweeter than sugar; ultimately, this is why it’s added into numerous products including foods, drinks, cereals and sugar-free items such as sugar-free chewing gum.
However, Aspartame has been publicly criticized recently – even being accused of causing cancer. Although studies found that this sweetener was unlikely to be the cause of this life-threatening disease, Aspartame has been reported to cause numerous side effects .
Not only that, Aspartame is required to come with a warning to people suffering from phenylketonuria .
- Weight Gain
- Birth Defects
Acesulfame K (also known as Ace-K or Acesulfame Potassium) is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener; equally as sweet as Aspartame, it’s also up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. For this reason, it’s often seen as the perfect replacement due to not adding any calories to diets.
However, the main concerns about Acesulfame K are that it’s been linked with causing cancer in rats  and birth defects in humans . For these reasons, we recommend you to avoid this chemical substance.
- Potential increase in risk of cancer
- Birth Defects
This artificial sweetener is the oldest on this list; it’s been around since 1878 and is derived from coal tar. It’s believed to be up to 700 times sweeter than sugar – making it one of the sweetest chemical substances available.
However, in 1978, a study found that Saccharin was carcinogenic for the urinary bladder in rats and mice; this same study concluded that this sweetener is likely to promote cancer in human beings .
As a result, Saccharin isn’t the safest alternative to sugar you can consume .
- Potential increase in risk of cancer
- Skin Rash
We’ve saved the most popular artificial sweetener for last here. Sucralose is the most commonly used sweetener, in hot beverages including tea and coffee – due to being up to 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Here’s how it’s made: simply put, cane sugar is put through a long chemical process where hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule are replaced with chlorine atoms – due to this process, your body is unable to absorp Sucralose (making it a zero-calorie chemical compound).
For this reason, Sucralose is used by those dieting. But it’s not all good news for this sweetener; many have reported to have experienced side effects, particularity migraines .
- Intestinal Cramping
Now you know that artificial sweeteners come with risks, we won’t just leave you without any solutions. Ultimately, these sweeteners listed in this article were originally created to combat obesity levels and diseases linked to high sugar consumption; we agree that lowering sugar-intake will lead to healthier lifestyles.
So what’s the best alternative to sugar? We believe that 100% natural options are the best sugar substitutes. For this reason, we’ve listed the ones we feel are the most beneficial (and haven’t been reported to cause any side effects).
Take a look:
Monk Fruit Extract
Also known as Siraitia Grosvenorii or Lo Han Guo, as you can see from its name, this is an all-natural sweetener extracted from Monk Fruit.
It’s widely considered to be the best alternative to sugar – due to being around 250 times sweeter than sugar  and being an antioxidant (making it beneficial for general health) .
Numerous studies have found Monk Fruit Extract to be safe for human consumption; more importantly, it hasn’t been reported to cause any side effects in any products.
For this reason, 4 Gauge contains this 100% natural sweetener – to enhance the taste of our pre workout without putting you at risk of harm.
Benefits Summed Up:
- 250 times sweeter than sugar
- Antioxidant effects
- Anti-diabetic properties 
- Anti-cancer properties 
This is officially known as ‘a naturally occuring five-carbon sugar polyol’; it’s a natural substance found in the fibres of fruit such as plums, strawberries and raspberries (and is even made in your body in small amounts) .
Xylitol is also considered to be a great replacement for sugar, due to being equally as sweet and low calorie. Not only that, studies have found that it actively helps lower the risk of obesity among other diseases such as diabetes .
Not only that, Xylitol has even shown to help protect your teeth from dental caries . As it hasn’t shown to cause consistent side effects, it’s also one of the safest sugar replacements available ; this is why 4 Gauge also contains Xylitol – to help improve the taste of our pre workout without increasing any risks of side effects.
Benefits Summed Up:
- Equally as sweet as sugar
- Low Calorie (around 2.5kcal per gram)
- Protects teeth from dental issues
- No side effects
Although artificial sweeteners might seem beneficial at first glance; but once you complete some research, you’ll quickly see that they’re not the perfect sugar replacement.
Ultimately, these chemical substances might be free from calories, but they significantly increase your risk of suffering from side effects – the most common being migraines and headaches.
For this reason, your best option is to choose 100% natural alternatives; both Monk Fruit Extract and Xylitol have proven to be equally as sweet as sugar, while being safe from side effects too. This is why, after extensive research, we decided to use these natural sweeteners to improve the taste of our pre workout.
4 Gauge has been extensively researched to provide you with key benefits such as:
Explosive Power – Form stronger mind-muscle-connection to make the most of every rep.
Laser Focus – Concentrate of your session without any distractions from the outside world.
Extended Stamina – Be more productive in your workouts by performing at your peak for longer.
Incredible Muscle Pumps – Experience skin-splitting pumps by looking thicker and tighter.
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