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How to NOT Eat Like A Fitness Model: What You May Not Know About Artificial Sweeteners

Oops! Yes, I said it…..Before I become exiled from the fitness community, I’d like to first acknowledge that I am not generalizing ALL ‘fitness models’ as not knowing how to properly eat. There ARE many talented fitness public figures who promote a holistic lifestyle to savor your health by building your body from the inside out. However, there are a tremendous amount of fitness figures who are setting a poor example, and worse of all providing you with horrendous advice of what your diet should look like.

One of the biggest problems today entails the constant promotion of fat -free, low -fat, low-calorie products, as seen in my last blog, “The Count Your Calorie Scam To Avoid: Don’t Count Calories, Count Your Toxins”.  Instagram fitness ‘experts’ and so called ‘healthy’ supplement companies, will not think twice about promoting these types of products full of harmful toxic chemicals, such as additives, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and other dangerous disguised ingredients.

My main focus in this blog will be on artificial sweeteners as it is one the most popular piece of advise promoted today. It is forced down our throats that we MUST avoid high calorie foods, even if they are healthy foods, such as good fats, to step on stage and become ‘fitness model status’.

Let’s face it, most advice given on the market today pushes you to consume harmful artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet N Low), Neotame and Acesulfame (Ace-K).

You can find artificial sweeteners in baked goods, carbonated drinks, puddings, deserts, yogurts, candies, cereals, creamers, protein bars, syrups, sugar-free cough drops, energy drinks, pre-workout drinks, and more.  Like most, they think, or lead you to believe that the lower the calorie, the less weight you will gain. On the label, they can be disguised as ‘natural flavors’.

Weight gain is only just the beginning of the damage artificial sweeteners will do to your health.

According to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 2008 article, Splenda Alters Gut Microflora, artificial sweeteners increase your risk of diabetes and can actually negatively alter your gut microbiome.

Let’s take a look at the most popular artificial sweetener, such as Splenda (sucralose).  Splenda (sucralose) can destroy up to 50 percent of your beneficial gut flora.

Did you know that your gut acts almost as a second brain within your body? The majority of our illness can actually stem from an unhealthy gut.  Even the way we feel, whether we are happy, sad, depressed, or angry, all can relate to how much good and bad bacteria present in our gut.

Your gut flora also determines how much of your food’s nutrients you are absorbing. And remember, in order to burn fat and build muscle, you need to be able to absorb all the vitamins, and minerals that you are consuming.

I’m going to use energy drinks, such as a popular one, Monster Lo Carb, as a prime example of containing toxic artificial sweeteners.

I remember in my university days, my friends and I would drink at least 2 cans of Redbull prior to our exams, not realizing that we were damaging our body’s with the toxic combinations.

When I see people downing energy drinks, such as Low- carb Monster, for their pre workout, I cringe and feel bad that they do not know any better. Did you know these energy drinks contain some of the worst artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and Aspartame? This deadly cocktail of taurine, caffeine and artificial sweeteners can lead to heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beats), stroke, heart failure and even death in large doses or someone with a weak heart.

A 2013 study, Fitness Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks Linked to Unhealthy Behaviors in Adolescent,s reported by Medical News Today, for example, found energy drinks alter the heart function of healthy adults, while another study linked energy drink consumption to other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking.

Here is a chart of other energy drinks brands, that contain artificial sweeteners. Please avoid these at all cost. If you see any of these artificial sweeteners on the label, toss it. This can be found in coffee creamers, sodas, diet coke, diet anything.

Drink Name Caffeine (mg/can) Sweetener type
Monster lo carb 160 Sucralose, Ace-K
Java Monster 160 Sucralose
No Fear sugar free 154 Sucralose, Ace-K
Red Bull sugar free 80 Ace-K, Aspartame

Sucralose can cause or aggravate inflammatory bowel disease because of its interference with gastrointestinal function.

Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) is a calorie-free sugar substitute that makes your drinks taste good! However, its far from good for you. One of the chemicals found in Ace-K is the carcinogen methylene chloride.

According the 2016 article, Why You Should Be Eating More Squash / Nutrition, written by Zinderman on Fit Day, there is evidence that long-term exposure to methylene chloride is linked to visual disturbances, headaches, depression, weight gain, liver effects, nausea, mental confusion, kidney effects and cancers in humans.

Evidence from a 2015 Harvard health study, Artificial Sweeteners: Sugar-free, but at What Cost? written by Strawbridge, stated that the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners are also extremely addictive.

Furthermore, it can be even more additive then the effects of cocaine.

The intensity of sugar has actually shown to surpass the same feeling presented with consumption of cocaine with evidence from a 2007 PloS One, U.S. National Library of Medicine article, Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward, written by Serre and Ahmed.

As you can see it is not just about will power, or having self control when it comes down to eliminating processed foods from your diet. Just think about children’s cereals that are loaded with artificial sweeteners.

It is no wonder you can find kids having mental breakdowns over wanting sweet snacks, breakfast foods, and beverages. Even in adults it is literally like going to rehab when trying to stay away from bad for us foods. This is alarming.

According to the 2015 article called, 8 Worst of the Worst Ingredients in Processed Foods, written by Dr. Mercola, splenda alters glucose and insulin function, thereby promoting weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.  

This may even cause DNA damage in which when heated it releases chloropropanols, which are members of the extremely dangerous class of carcinogens called dioxin, as stated by the 2014 article , The 8 Scariest Ingredients in Your Food, written by Bastrop Daily Enterprise.

There is unnecessary damage done to the body that can be prevented if you are consuming real foods. My advice to you is not play ‘monkey-see-monkey do’, when your favorite fitness model is consuming low cal, low fat, toxic foods and beverages packed with harmful ingredients.

Always make sure you go above and beyond to research what you are putting in your body. Remember, only you are responsible for your body.


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By | 2017-02-06T19:40:28-08:00 February 6th, 2017|Nutrition|2 Comments

About the Author:

Laura Michelle Prestin is one of the industry’s leading internationally published fitness models in the world. Laura holds a degree as a Registered Practical Nurse specializing in health, fitness & anti-aging. Laura also attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University. Read More About Prestin or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Chris February 7, 2017 at 4:36 am - Reply

    I use xylitol as a sweetener. Have you come across any negative research on this?

    • Miss Prestin April 14, 2017 at 12:36 am - Reply

      First, the fact that xylitol is “hydrogenated” should raise some concerns because hydrogenated foods are known to cause:

      Alzheimer’s Disease
      Behavioral irritability and aggression
      Liver dysfunction
      Major depressive disorder
      Secondly, nickel is a known toxin has been linked to:

      Asthma attacks
      Dermatitis (skin allergies)
      Hand eczema (skin rash)
      Kidney problems
      Lung disorders

      At this point, there is no research proving that chewing xylitol sweetened gum or eating xylitol sweetened cookies will cause these things, but I’d be careful before diving in and making xylitol part of your daily natural health regimen! Everything in moderation

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