Letters to the Editor: Why you should stay away from sugar and artificial sweeteners

Consuming too many sweeteners — both sugar and artificial — can have health consequences, warns a physician.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Sweeteners, both sugar and artificial, have adverse health effects. (“Could our love affair with sugar and artificial sweeteners literally break our hearts?” Opinion, March 5)

From documentation of cardiovascular disease in 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummies to the present epidemic of obesity, sugar is a prime suspect. The hormonally triggered “sugar high” (the release of serotonin and dopamine) and consequent sugar low (hypoglycemia) lead to hunger, weight gain and obesity. Production of cholesterol and triglycerides are increased with an enhanced sugar load.

Artificial sweeteners fail to produce the satisfaction of the sugar high, promoting eating (documented in the medical journal The Lancet in 1986). The shaming of erythritol as associated with cardiovascular disease is actually the result of overeating.


In addition, another strategy has appeared that is most relevant: Adequate protein and (good) fat with each meal enhance satiety and diminish the insulin effect.

A reality check demands that we limit sweeteners in food. So, Anthony Bourdain’s words that our bodies are an amusement park may ring true, but the fact is that they are indeed temples. We have endless food choices and one life to live.

Jerome P. Helman, MD, Venice


To the editor: Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher, once said that since smoking gives him great pleasure, it’s worth dying a few years earlier from the habit.

In Robin Abcarian’s column, she wondered if her father, who died at 91, might have lived to be 92 if he hadn’t eaten so much sugar. Actually, 91 ain’t that bad.

Benny Wasserman, La Palma