Do you consume artificial sweeteners in an attempt to avoid the calories that come with sugar? If you do, you are not only doing your waistline a disservice, but you are also putting yourself at risk for serious health problems down the road. In this edition of the newsletter, I’d like to take a few moments to discuss artificial sweeteners and how our culture has evolved around them.
These artificial sweeteners are designed to do exactly that, make food taste sweet without actually using sugar. The whole idea behind this is that you will lower your caloric intake and lose weight by lowering your sugar intake. This is deceptive at best as consuming these products will make you gain weight and have severe consequences to your health.
We face an obesity epidemic in America, with up to 33% of adults overweight and up to another 33% obese. This comes at a time when “sugar-free” and “fat-free” foods are readily available. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve seen an overweight person order far too much food, then finish off their meal with a “healthy” diet soda out of concern over calories.
Science is now proving that drinking diet soda will actually make you eat more at that sitting. Although your taste buds are fooled, your brain isn’t. According to new research by psychologists at Purdue University’s Ingestive Behavior Research Center, food and beverages that contain no-calorie artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight.
In the study, rats were fed yogurt sweetened with either glucose or saccharin. The results showed that the rats that consumed saccharin sweetened yogurt:
It is now confirmed that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the connection between a sweet sensation and high-calorie food, thereby changing your body’s ability to regulate intake. The researchers also measured the rats’ core body temperatures, which typically rise after eating. However, after eating a sweet, high-calorie meal, rats that ate saccharin had a lower rise in body temperature than rats that ate glucose.
Having a lower body temperature effectively means lower metabolism, which would prevent the rats from properly burning off the calories as they normally would. They concluded that consuming foods sweetened with saccharin would lead to greater weight gain and body fat than eating the same foods sweetened with sugar. The researchers also believe that consuming other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame K would have similar effects and are designing studies to test those as well.
In one brain-scan study by neuroscientist Paul Smeets, volunteers were given two versions of a beverage, one sweetened with sugar and the other with a blend of artificial sweeteners. The brain scans showed that the artificially sweetened beverage failed to activate the brain called the caudate nucleus, an area associated with rewards. In short, this means that artificially sweetened foods do not satisfy cravings, which leads you to consume more food later to make up for the lack of satisfaction.
A separate study by psychiatrist Guido Frank at the University of Colorado in Denver also looked into your brain’s response to sugar versus artificial sweeteners. Women given a taste of the two said they could not consciously determine a difference. However, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brain responses showed differences indeed.
As in the previously mentioned study, sugar activated the reward areas of your brain more strongly than the artificial sweetener. This suggests that the latter may not make you feel satisfied the way sugar would. Please understand that I am not endorsing indulging in sugar, but rather this is an alert that artificial sweeteners are not fooling your body.
The bad news doesn’t just stop there. Artificial sweeteners are also toxic. Although high fructose corn syrup should be avoided like the plague (a topic for another newsletter), it is still less damaging to your body than artificial sweeteners.
Take aspartame, for instance, which is sold as Equal and Sweet n’ Low. The phenylalanine in aspartame dissociates from the ester bond and increases dopamine levels in your brain. This distorts your serotonin-dopamine balance and can lead to symptoms resembling depression. A similar mechanism has been shown to lead to migraine headaches and brain cancer.
Furthermore, the aspartic acid in aspartame, much like monosodium glutamate (MSG), is a well-documented excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids essentially excite neurons in your brain so drastically that the cell eventually dies.
Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. The ester bond in aspartame is further broken down in your liver. They produce formaldehyde and methanol, which have their own toxic properties and are linked to cancer.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, recent studies show a 2x decrease in kidney function in women who consume as little as two beverages a day sweetened by these chemicals. This adds to the growing list of serious health risks from consuming these toxic substances. They are deceptively marketed as though they are safe and even healthy!
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar. This is, at best, confusing, and at worst, harming the health of those who take their misguided advice. There is no secret to good health.
The body needs only a few things, a healthy diet, oxygen, water, exercise, sleep, and a clear functioning nervous system to guide it. Regular chiropractic adjustments play as great a role in health as how you exercise and what you eat. The absence of pain is not an indicator of health. The worst symptom is no symptom at all.
I implore you all to be vigilant about what you put into your body. Millions of cells are replaced in our bodies every minute. Your body is never at rest. As such, you are either moving towards health or sickness and disease.
Daniel J. Myerowitz, D.C., Dipl. Ac. (AACA)
291 Main Road
Holden, ME 04429
Much of the above information is taken from Dr. Mercola’s website. I encourage you all to subscribe to his newsletter at www.mercola.com.Return To Blog