Author: Dr. Gary Huber

The not-so-sweet truth about Artificial Sweeteners

The King Of Blunt strikes again. There is no way to sugar coat it. Who drinks diet soda pop? Big people. What does diet soda pop do? Makes big people bigger. The studies show this to be true. If you’re clinging to diet sodas to help you lose weight then you are on the deck of the Titanic arranging deck chairs. Meaning . . . that ship is going down and your wasting time with bad ideas.

The cold hard facts are that artificial sweeteners come in two types: really bad ones that cause cancer and sleep disturbance, and the not so bad ones that only cause weight gain. So whats the answer? Address the real problem. Why do you require so much sweet taste in your foods? Lets go back in time and really think about what is was like to live just 100 years ago. What foods existed back in 1914? High fructose corn syryp hadn’t been invented yet. Artificial sweeteners didn’t exist. Real sweeteners like actual sugar barely existed and were rarely used. So what did they eat? Real food. The sweetest thing to cross their palate was some nice fruit with natural sugars. Obesity became an issue only after we began introducing processed foods. They moved their bodies and they ate whole foods. 

Aspartame, often sold as NutraSweet, is one of the worst chemicals ever devised and it’s acceptance by the FDA is riddled with controversy and corruption. It causes brain cancer and other disease when consumed and yet I see people every day that just can’t get enough. It is the sweetener in Diet Coke. Other sweeteners such as the much maligned saccharine, is far less toxic than first believed. Sucrolose is still a concern and being followed closely as it too was quickly passed by the FDA before adequate testing could be completed. But despite what short comings these chemicals may have in their ability to cause other disease the basic premise still exists that ALL ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS lead to weight gain. 

A study in 2008 at Purdue University (as well as others) have shown that despite our lack of understanding of the exact mechanism it appears that the consumption of artificial sweeteners sets a series of chemical and hormonal signals into play. The body receives a sweet signal that calories are on the way and then is fooled when the calories don’t arrive. Even when we take in artificially sweetened foods that do contain some calories it creates a response that is in excess of the calories consumed. It actually stimulates more appetite and more calories consumption in other meals leading to weight gain. The actual results reported were as follows:

 We found that reducing the correlation between sweet taste and the caloric content of foods using artificial sweeteners in rats resulted in increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity, as well as diminished caloric compensation and blunted thermic responses to sweet-tasting diets. These results suggest that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners may lead to increased body weight and obesity by interfering with fundamental homeostatic, physiological processes.

Translation: fooling the body with excessive sweeteners resulted in increased calorie intake at subsequent meals as their appetite was stimulated, increased weight gain and fat deposits, lowering of metabolism so fat burned less efficiently.

So if we are discussing “health” and you ask me what is the best artificial sweetener to use then I have to in all honesty say . . . NONE of them are healthy and all of them will cause weight gain. Well . . . OK, settle down, if you twist my arm I will admit that the least toxic of all the sweeteners are Stevia and Xylitol. But even excess use here can be a problem. It’s boring and predictable but whole foods are the best and if you wean yourself off of the saturated sweet taste of the typical American Diet and learn the delights of the sweet taste of natural foods in their natural state then you are on your way to weight loss and better health.

I help people lose weight every day and I get to see the excited looks on their faces and hear of the wonderful stories of how they now sleep better, feel better, have less joint ache, and much much more. I tell them to be “students of their body” and pay attention to what signals they are hearing from their body when they replace processed, sweetened crap with whole food. They are all smiling and living better lives. We all should be. We all can be.