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Artificial Sweeteners And Weight Gain

by Julie

I have read several articles that say diet sodas cause you to crave sugar, thus making you fat. Do all artificial sweeteners do this?

It's mostly NutraSweet or aspartame in diet sodas.

I've heard that sucralose is the best sweetener. Is there really any difference?

I really hate plain water, so I have tried other drinks like Propel Zero and Fuze. Are they bad too?

Note from Dr. Dan


There are a number of things about weight loss that are difficult for most people to understand. I think one of the most difficult is the connection between weight loss and artificial sweeteners.

NutraSweet is the trade name for the chemical apartame. Aspartame was discovered by a researcher at G.D. Searle and Company in 1965.

It was released in 1981. It is now found in thousands of products in over 100 countries. These products are "diet" products.

So, since it is "approved" by the government, and since it is labeled "diet" it must be good for weight loss, right?

Well, no. Here's some of the evidence:

Researchers at the University of Texas followed 474 people for 9 1/2 years. The measured a number of things, including waist circumference, physical activity, age, and presence of diabetes.

They found that the soft drink users had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference compared to those that didn't drink diet sodas. But wait -- the ones that drank 2 or more diet sodas per day had increases that were 500 percent.

Increased waist circumference -- having a big belly -- doesn't just change your figure. No, it is associated with development of metabolic syndrome, including elevated cholesterol, diabetes and risk of heart disease and death.

So this is no small thing.

But forget the research. Just think about it yourself, with your own common sense. Overweight people drink most of the "diet" soda. How often do you see them actually lose weight?

It is virtually impossible to lose weight until you start providing your body with the nutrients -- the healthy real food -- that it needs. And this means getting rid of the harmful chemicals as well.

You also ask about sucralose. Sucralose is a chemical that is made from sucrose, also known as table sugar. To make sucralose chlorine is substituted for three -OH groups (oxygen and hydrogen) of the sucrose molecule. This substitution of chlorine in the sugar molecule yields a substance that is about 600 times as sweet.

Sucralose has been subject to a number of scientific studies. There is no evidence in any of the studies that it is dangerous to humans at normal levels. But was it adequately studied? Most of the studies were done on laboratory animals, not on humans.

Most of ingested sucralose is not absorbed but is passed through the feces. But about 15% is absorbed. Most of this is then excreted by the kidneys, but some is metabolized. It is these metabolites that have not been fully tested for safety.

But assume for the moment that it is safe. The questions then remain: Is it a good idea to use it? Does it help with weight loss?

Here is the view of McNeil Specialty, the marketers of sucralose: “Sucralose does not affect normal carbohydrate metabolism, including insulin secretion and glucose and fructose absorption.”

It does not affect normal carbohydrate metabolism? Well, why not? The things that you eat should affect normal carbohydrate metabolism. That is why they are "normal". You cannot improve on normal metabolism.

Your body developed processes over the millions of years of development that are favorable to your survival. When you interfere with these processes you interfere with your optimum health.

Then there are the "fitness waters." Propel contains "acesulfame K". I don't think that acesulfame K has been adequately tested to ensure that it is safe. And it has a particularly bad aftertaste. It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to eat or drink it.

Fuze is a bit different than all these others. Fruze contains "crystalline fructose." It is not a "non-caloric" sweetener. It is absorbed and metabolized. But fructose is quite controversial.

Fructose is taken up by the liver and turned into triglycerides. These triglycerides are fats that circulate through your blood.

When you eat fructose you bypass the normal hormones that make you feel full. So too much fructose leaves you feeling unsatisfied and causes weight gain.

Fructose may also be associated with the development of insulin insensitivity leading to diabetes.

Non-caloric sweeteners like NutraSweet and low-caloric sweeteners like sucralose attempt to fool the body. But it doesn't work. You are hungry. You eat something sweet. Your body expects it to be a nutritious substance that it can use for energy and rebuilding.

It then waits for the nutrients to be released into the blood stream. But what happens? No nutrients. So it then amplifies the signals. And you become more hungry. You develop odd cravings and increased appetite. Your sense of what is a normal portion is distorted. Your sense of satiety -- of having eaten adequately -- is eventually damaged or destroyed.

I would say that if you have accustomed your body to these foreign chemicals it may take a bit of discipline to wean yourself off. After you do you may find that plain water tastes better than you thought.

Spring water is best for flavor due to the dissolved minerals. And those dissolved minerals are needed for proper metabolism and health.

Dr. Dan

Comments for Artificial Sweeteners And Weight Gain

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Quitting Sugar is good for you, it lessens
by: Anonymous

the wanting/needing more sugar. It really is a catch 22 situation. You eat sugar and you want more sweet treats. However with artificial sweeteners they certainly lessen the wanting for more sweet treats. I think most ppl have it wrong. It is not the calories value here, it the giving up the demon sugar. So anyway you can give up sugar, well, Just Do It

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