By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
April 07, 2014
- This surprising substance may be fueling the obesity epidemic
- The top two reasons sugar substitutes fail at their job
- How to keep your life sweet, fizzy and calorie-free
In a recent issue of Advanced Natural Wellness I alerted you to the dangers of consuming too many corn byproducts. These unhealthy food additives are often hidden in foods that you’d never expect to find them in. And they don’t do anything good for your health.
Today I want to share another group of harmful additives that are showing up in more and more of our foods and drinks these days. You might even be adding them to your iced tea and other beverages in the hopes they’ll help you drop weight and protect you from diabetes.
I’m talking about artificial sweeteners.
You’ll find artificial sweeteners in all sorts of “sugar-free,” “diet” and “no-calorie” soft drinks, juices, gum, yogurt, ice cream and more.
These sugar substitutes don’t contain any calories. In fact, they appear to be a very logical and healthy choice. Especially if you’re trying to keep your weight under control or drop some extra pounds.
You may be surprised to learn these substances are not a healthy choice at all.
You see, it turns out artificial sweeteners fool your body into thinking you’re eating sugar. And these days many health experts are asking whether these sweeteners might be fueling today’s obesity epidemic rather than fighting it.
There’s good reason for their skepticism.
Let me show you how these sweeteners can sneak up on you to cause weight gain… and what you can do about it.
The original concept behind artificial sweeteners is a noble one. Create a low-calorie alternative to sugar in an effort to curb obesity and diabetes.
And the message from the manufacturers of these sweeteners is clear: Have as much as you want and never gain a pound.
But this simply isn’t true. The original concept failed, miserably.
Artificial sweeteners have a profound effect on two very important hormones that affect your appetite and your fat stores – insulin and leptin.
They literally trick your body into believing you’ve just eaten something sugary.
So, every time you use an artificial sweetener, your body is forced to release insulin. Too much insulin revs up your appetite, makes you feel hungrier, and causes your body to store fat.
These sweeteners also cause a rapid release of leptin. This is the hormone that sends satiety signals to the brain when you’re full. It keeps your appetite in check until your body needs food again.
Initially this might sound like a good physical response. But, when you consistently produce excess amounts of leptin, your body will eventually become resistant to it.
This means the hormone that regulates your appetite ends up racing out of control and “forgets” how to do its job.
What does this mean for you?
Well, people who use synthetic sweeteners and drink artificially sweetened sodas are more likely to eat larger meals. They tend to gain weight and develop belly fat. Worse, they’re also more likely to have diabetes and insulin resistance.
Diet sodas are probably the worst culprit, because some folks tend to reach for them several times a day in order to cut calories. I’ve seen research that shows people who drink two or more artificially sweetened soft drinks daily end up with waist circumferences as much as 500% larger than people who avoid them altogether.
These sugar substitutes should be placed in the same category as high-fructose corn syrup and sugar. They should all be avoided whenever possible.
Here’s what you can do to regain control of your hormones and fat stores in two very easy ways…
If you’ve been adding artificial sweeteners to your diet, you may have developed something of a sweet tooth. Some of these sweeteners are up to 600 times sweeter than sugar. And they ramp up your appetite more than you could ever imagine.
There are several of them, but the most common you should watch out for – and avoid – include:
- Aspartame (Nutra Sweet, Equal)
- Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One, Sweet & Safe)
For a safer and healthier sweetener that won’t expand your waistline, try replacing these artificial substances with stevia.
Stevia is a safe, all-natural sweetener that actually has a positive effect on your weight, blood sugar and insulin response. You can add it to your iced tea, home-made lemonade, juices, and even your coffee.
Just one warning: It’s much sweeter than anything else you’ve ever used. So, start with just a little and then add more to your taste.
But, what if you love the fizz of an ice-cold diet soda?
Here’s a nifty trick…
Replace your soda habit with carbonated water, seltzer water or sparkling mineral water. You can buy all of them in flavors like orange, lemon, lime and raspberry.
Or, you can add your own favorite zest to an unflavored brand. Top it off with citrus fruit, berries, kiwis or just add a small splash of your favorite juice for a naturally sweet flavor.
Rogers PJ, et al. “Separating the actions of sweetness and calories: effects of saccharin and carbohydrates on hunger and food intake in human subjects.” Physiol Behav 1989; 45:1093–1099.
Sharon P. Fowler, et al. “Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-term Weight Gain.” Obesity (2008) 16 8, 1894–1900.
ENDO 2009: The Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society: Abstract P2-478. Presented June 11, 2009.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2011, June 28). “Waistlines in people, glucose levels in mice hint at sweeteners’ effects: Related studies point to the illusion of the artificial.” ScienceDaily.