A recent article in The Orlando Sentinel discussed some current research on how artificial sweetners affect the body and also affect weight loss. First of all, since the introduction of artificial sweetners, Americans have looked at them as a free pass to eat whatever they want because they’re not taking in additional calories. How many times have you seen someone at McDonald’s get a Big Mac, but also a Diet Coke? We rationalize it away, but we’re still taking a huge hit with the other calories we consume, often in the form of second helpings.
But let’s look at how these sweetners operate in the body. What research is finding is that these sweetners actually stimulate cravings rather than curb them. Obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig says, “Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyperintense sweetners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes. Ultimately consumers may find less intensely sweet foods, like fruit, less appealing and vegetables downright appaling.” So we think we’re doing ourselves a favor by choosing an artificial sweetner, but we’re actually setting ourselves up to eat more and to crave more intensely sweet things.
So how does sugar – any sugar, get metabolized in the body? Once we eat it, sugar gets turned into glucose in the blood. This is supposed to be an energy source for the body, but if it isn’t burned right away, it gets stored in the cells as fat. You would think that because there are no calories to the artificial sugars you’re fooling Mother Nature, but you’re not. There are “sweet taste receptors” in our bodies that respond both to real and artificial sugars that tell the body to get ready for something sweet. The body readies itself for lots of calories but in the case of artificial sweetners, when that doesn’t happen, the person is driven to eat more. The researchers hypothesize that this may be the reason that the obesity rate has risen along with the use of artificial sweetners.
Probably the best answer is to limit your use of artificial sweetners as well as sugar. I know it can be really hard to break the diet soda habit, but it’s so worth it. Your body craves clean pure water, not the chemicals that are in all other beverages.
Are you ready to make just one small change to improve your health? Maybe just for today you drink more water than you do soda.
Let me know what your experience is!