Researchers have been studying the health effects of artificial sweeteners for years; unfortunately, most of the findings show that they are very detrimental to human health. One of the most interesting findings is that artificial sweeteners can actually increase our desire to eat, increase cravings and lead to weight gain; this flies in the face of why most people consume artificial sweeteners, that is, to lose weight. Many studies have shown this to be true, and at least one of the mechanisms thought to cause this weight gain is dysregulation of the how our body controls blood sugar. Now, new research is showing artificial sweeteners can have even more far reaching detrimental effects on our health. (more…)
There have now been studies on over 100,000 people (!) that show that the consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to weight gain. Researchers have been investigating this counter-intuitive phenomena for decades with some very interesting results. However, one of the newer discoveries has to do with how artificial sweeteners affect brain signaling. As it turns out, these effects can have a dramatic impact on our appetite. (more…)
In a previous post, we highlighted research that showed that those that consumed non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) experienced higher blood sugar levels and gained more weight than those that did not. This baffled researchers at the time, as NAS had been assumed to be helpful to those trying to lose weight and are often marketed to those with blood sugar imbalances, including diabetes. New research is uncovering why NAS have such detrimental effects. (more…)
Many people, in an effort to lose weight and/or control their blood sugar levels, turn from sugar-sweetened beverages and products to those that use artificial sweeteners. The theory is that since artificial sweeteners contain no calories, a person consuming these products can still get the sweet-taste they love while avoiding the calories, blood sugar spikes and extra pounds that can come along with sugar sweetened beverages. Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that not only is this not true; the research is showing that artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain and cause dramatic blood sugar spikes – exactly the behavior we have been led to believe they would prevent. (more…)
Here we are; the final post on artificial sweeteners and the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Why do artificial sweeteners, which contain no calories, lead to weight gain?
In 2008 Purdue University released a study that shocked the artificial sweetener world. The study showed that animals fed artificially sweetened foods and beverages had a harder time regulating their calorie intake and body weight. The animals who were fed foods with the artificial sweeteners ate more and gained more weight than animals who were fed foods sweetened with glucose which is a natural, high-calorie sweetener.
Why did the animals end up eating more when they were given artificially sweet foods? Because, the body knows that sweet foods naturally have a lot of calories. When we eat something sweet and the body doesn’t get the expected amount of calories, it sends out signals for us to eat more calories. So eating artificially sweet foods leads to increased eating.
The body also secretes a hormone called insulin when we eat foods with artificial sweeteners. Insulin takes sugar out of our blood, where it goes after we eat it, and into the cells so it can be either used for energy or stored. Because with artificial sweeteners there isn’t actually any sugar for insulin to move, the cells start to ignore insulin — they become insulin resistant. In the future, this means that more calories will be stored as fat because the insulin resistant cells won’t be accepting as many calories from insulin to use as energy.
These reasons in addition to the changes listed in earlier posts that correspond to individual sweeteners lead to unexpected weight gain. Instead of these sweeteners, you should really drink water! I know it sounds boring but it is essential to healthy living; our body is made up of 50-75% water and it is used for so many important things such as transporting nutrients, removing wastes and digestive processes. You should drink at least 8 glasses a day. Are you getting enough? In addition to water, some healthy alternatives are fruit and vegetable juices, spritzers (half juice, half seltzer) or Emer-Gen-C drinks. If you have to have an alternative sweetener, try stevia. Stevia is not man-made, it comes from a plant and is naturally calorie free. It is available as Truvia and SweetLeaf.
Any other suggestions out there? We’d love to hear them!