It is likely that when you choose your supplements you don’t pay too much attention to how they are sweetened. This could be a serious mistake. You might have noticed that manufacturers try to make their supplements taste quite good. They also try to avoid adding sugar to their products, because everybody knows that refined sugar is bad for you. If you are an athlete or a body builder, and you are taking protein supplements such as micellar casein, you might well be on a low carbohydrate diet. However, what this means is that your supplement comes with a hefty helping of artificial sweetener, such as aspartame. This is seriously bad news and the supplement could be doing you more harm than good. If you are looking for a micellar casein supplement you should definitely choose XBrain’s organic micellar casein. It is the only organic casein supplement without an artificial sweetener. Instead it is sweetened with stevia, which is actually good for you.

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

Although the artificial sweeteners used by other manufacturers are licenced for use in food, and are officially considered safe, they are not without controversy. The food industry wields enormous lobbying power and it is difficult to be sure whether the FDA approval is based on solid scientific evidence, or whether it was unduly influenced by politicians. In many cases the scientific evidence is far from clear with some studies showing an increased risk of diseases such as cancer, while other studies not finding it. Take aspartame, the most commonly used artificial sweetener. It is made by creating an artificial link between two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and methanol. It is the methanol which is considered to be the major risk. In the body it is metabolised to formaldehyde, a toxic substance that crosslinks proteins together. Although aspartame proponents claim that the amounts obtained from ingesting aspartame are too small to be harmful, because aspartame is so widely used in the food industry as well as supplements, the methanol obtained from it can add up. Did you know that aspartame was initially not approved by the FDA, in the 1970s, because of a study showing that it increased the risk of developing brain tumours in rats? The FDA later reversed its decision despite several other studies showing increased risk of cancer in animals.

The other problem that might be associated with aspartame is that it is also broken down to produce the amino acid aspartic acid. Although this is a natural building block in our proteins, it also has a second function as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. There is a worry that too much aspartic acid can cause neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain resulting in excitotoxicity, in which too much of certain excitatory neurotransmitters prove to be toxic to neurons and even cause cell death. It is interesting that of the more 10,000 complaints about aspartame submitted to the FDA by consumers neurological symptoms predominate. These range from migraine headaches to dizziness and hallucinations.

Apart from these dangers some dieticians argue that the use of artificial sweeteners causes the brain to stop associating sweet taste with calorie intake and satiety. The result is that people actually increase the amount of refined sugar that they consume in their diets. It is very worrying that despite the vastly increased use of artificial sweeteners since the 1970s the rates of obesity have increased hugely as well.

Organic Micellar Casein with Stevia

In contrast to other supplements XBrain’s Organic micellar casein is sweetened with stevia rather than artificial sweeteners. Stevia, an all-natural extract from a South American leafy shrub, is not only not dangerous, but it is actually good for you. Stevia had been used in countries such as Brazil for centuries to sweeten drinks, but also for its medicinal properties. The most important bioactive phytochemicals in stevia are stevioside and rebaudioside, both of which are much sweeter than sucrose (sugar), so a tiny amount is sufficient to impart a sweet taste to the supplement without adding any calories or interfering with your natural blood glucose control.

Despite its increased use in the West there are no reports of negative side effects from using stevia. On the other hand, several scientific studies are confirming what was known to South American traditional medicine practitioners for a long time, that stevia has very positive effects on blood pressure and on blood sugar control. In one double-blind, placebo controlled study in China, the effects of stevia were studied in 175 mildly hypertensive people. After two years of observation the study concluded that stevia had a significant effect in lowering blood pressure. I am sure everybody is aware of the dangers of high blood pressure, which can put a strain on the heart and lead to strokes.  The study also found that regularly using stevia decreased the risks of developing right ventricular hypertrophy, a type of cardiac disease associated with high blood pressure.

Stevia for Blood Sugar Control

Another study on the health benefits of stevia demonstrated a very promising beneficial effect on glucose metabolism. Studies are now under way to see whether it can be used as a treatment for patients with type II diabetes. Even if you don’t suffer from this terrible disease, improved insulin sensitivity and better control of glucose serum levels are highly desirable.

Many micellar casein supplements on the market have hefty amounts of artificial sweeteners added to them. Although the use of aspartame and other sweeteners is so widespread that most people take them for granted, the case for their harmlessness is far from proven and they might have many harmful effects. In contrast XBrain’s organic micellar casein supplement is sweetened with the all-natural botanical, stevia. Unlike artificial sweeteners stevia is not associated with any health risks or negative side effects. In fact, it is positively good for you, and has been used for centuries in South America for its medicinal properties. The use of stevia rather than artificial sweeteners, makes XBrain’s organic casein a much better supplement, which will not only maintain your body in an anabolic state, but will have beneficial effects on your blood pressure and blood sugar control.