Feed your child artificial sweeteners and you may increase the risk of seeing artificial reactions. There is reason to believe that artificial sweeteners have no place in the diets of growing children, especially ones who already have problems behaving and learning. The many studies that have tried to show a connection between artificial sweeteners and behavior have produced confusing and conflicting results, so common sense has to take over.
Artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, saccharine) were originally developed as a sugar substitute for diabetics, but then the manufacturer discovered a huge market in a calorie-conscious society, one that has also been misfed a lot of hype about the hazardous effects of sugar. Artificial sweeteners do not usually satisfy a body that is craving sweets or carbohydrates. In fact, they may so accustom the taste buds to sweet flavors that sweetener-users want more sugar rather than less. The more sweets you eat, the more your tastebuds get used to the sweet taste and you require more and more sweetness to satisfy your sweet tongue. As you ease more tartness into your diet, your tastebuds regain their sensitivity to sweetness, and they will be more satisfied with less sugar.
Also, some scientists are concerned about biochemical quirks of artificial sweeteners. The sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet) is basically a combination of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids have different effects on the brain than sugars do. In natural foods these amino acids enter the brain in company with other naturally- occurring nutrients. The amino acids on their own may have an unnatural effect, particularly on neurotransmitters. Theoretically, it is also possible that the amino acids in the artificial sweeteners could compete with the natural amino acids in the foods, throwing the brain’s neurotransmitters out of balance. Another problem with artificially-sweetened drinks is that people tend to drink a lot of them. The calories in a sugar-containing soda will satisfy the appetite. When you drink an artificially-sweetened beverage, your body may want more, further confusing the brain with high levels of unnatural amino acids. Common sense says that feeding the brain an unnatural substance may cause it to perform in an unnatural way. Our conclusion for any artificial substance: WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT.