January 26, 2018 0

Artificial Sweeteners Are Not So Sweet

Posted by:Dr. Brian Mowll onJanuary 26, 2018

The first thing you learn as someone diagnosed with diabetes is to avoid sugar, but are sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose the answer? It’s not hard to imagine why people look at artificial sweeteners like a sweet superhero whether they have diabetes or are just looking to drop a few pounds. The concept is simple. You can enjoy something with a sweet taste but without the pitfalls that come from eating simple carbohydrates or sugars.

The science behind chemically based and artificially sweetened products like diet soda are more complex, though. There is no one magic bullet when it comes to a type 2 or pre-diabetes diet plan. There are foods that reverse diabetes, but artificial sweeteners are not one of them. How can you reverse diabetes naturally? It starts with understanding why quick fixes like aspartame are not the answer.

What Is an Artificial Sweetener?

Technically, the artificial sweetener often used, aspartame, is a chemical named 1-methyl ester. It is manufactured to offer the same sweet satisfaction one gets from natural sugar cultivated via the sugarcane or sugar beets. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose are not digested in the same way as real sugar, so they have little to no caloric effect. That makes them an attractive alternative for people looking to stick to a diabetes diet or even just lose weight.

“You’ve been led to believe that they’re better for you than sugar, but artificial sweeteners have been linked to diabetes, heart disease – even weight gain!”

– Dr.Oz

What Are the Health Risks of Artificial Sweeteners?

Any food that starts with the word “artificial” should raise a red flag for consumers. There are over 30 different observational studies with more than 400,000 participants that show conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart conditions relate in some way to the use of artificial sweeteners.

The toxicity of artificial sweeteners can lead to some unpleasant side effects as well, such as headaches, diarrhea and dry mouth. Long-term use is proven to cause cancer in some animals, too. The fact is medical science doesn’t really fully understand the effects of chemical sweeteners yet because they’ve only been on the market for a few decades. Long-range studies are still in process but the data is startling.

Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity

A 2008 study published in Obesity found that artificially sweetened beverages lead to long-term weight gain. Researchers looked at the relationship between chemically sweetened sodas and weight gain as part of the San Antonio Heart Study. They found a connection between artificial sweeteners and the rising BMI rates. Individuals who drink diet soda, for example, can have a 47-percent increase in BMI.

Artificial Sweeteners and Gut Health

The human gut plays host to a diverse ecosystem of bacteria that help breakdown and metabolize food. The makeup of this gut microbiota is a critical part of staying healthy. A group of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science found evidence that drinking artificially sweetened sodas can alter the microbial population in the gut, leading to obesity and other health problems, including increasing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Artificial Sweeteners and the Brain

Another concern with artificial sweeteners is their effect on the brain and, specifically, its ability to manage food intake. Studies indicate the brain responds to the artificial products by signaling you to eat more, especially more sweets. Drinking a diet soda can actually trigger a craving for sugar.

More and more, society is reaching for that diet soda to get through the day thinking it’s a positive step towards better eating and maybe even a diabetes cure. The truth is, experts are encouraging a more healthy approach like the low carb diet for diabetes because artificial sweeteners are just bad for you. They interfere with the body’s natural ability to manage glucose levels and work against an efficient and healthy metabolism.

“Whatever you do, stay away from artificial sweeteners. I recommend giving up aspartame, sucralose, sugar alcohols such as xylitol and maltitol, and all of the other heavily used and marketed sweeteners unless you want to slow down your metabolism, gain weight, and become an addict.”

– Mark Hyman, MD

References:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/17/537262142/artificial-sweeteners-dont-help-people-lose-weight-review-finds

http://www.medicaldaily.com/4-dangerous-effects-artificial-sweeteners-your-health-247543

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/artificial-sweeteners-may-change-our-gut-bacteria-in-dangerous-ways/http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/3/517

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2008.284/abstract

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20170717/do-artificial-sweeteners-raise-odds-for-obesity#1

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