What You Should Know About Artificial Sweeteners
Trying to fool your body with artificial sweeteners devoid of calories is not the answer. In fact, it will likely make matters worse.-Dr. Mercola The average American consumes 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners each year. Sugar substitutes are added to nearly 6,000 other products sold in the US, including baby foods, frozen dinners and even yogurts. While many people use these fake sugars in an attempt to lose weight, artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and Splenda, can actually cause weight gain rather than weight loss. Artificial sweeteners make you fatter by adversely affects your blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, two important factors for dealing with nutrient absorption, hunger levels and cravings. How these fake sugars came about: Aspartame was discovered in 1965 entirely by mistake. It is said that chemist by the name of Schlatter accidently spilled one of the chemicals he was using onto his finger. He licked his finger clean, and in doing so discovered the sweet taste of the aspartame he had spilled. Sucralose is a synthetic chemical that was originally cooked up in a laboratory, similar to Aspartame. It starts off as a sugar molecule, then in a five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose (sugar) molecule. Splenda, also known as Sucralose, is a chlorinated artificial sweetener that has been linked to many adverse health conditions, such as alerted gut bacteria, weight gain and even increased and intensified sugar and carb cravings. How artificial sweeteners trick the body: Research shows that artificial sweeteners stimulate taste receptors that sense sweetness in both the esophagus and stomach. As the body is now anticipating energy, and from something presumably sweet, the pancreas releases insulin, an important hormone for storing body fat and shuttling nutrients into our cells. At the same time, chemicals are sent to the brain’s satiety, or feel full center, which becomes confused as to whether or not the body is actually receiving calories. The result? You feel even hungrier and less full, which can lead to over eating, weight gain and uncontrolled blood sugar regulation. Negative health effects: While more and more people are becoming increasingly aware that the consumption of artificial sweeteners has negative effects on our health, they may not be aware of the wide array of health complications. This includes GI problems, such as bloating and gas, migraines, dizziness, blood sugar increases, seizures and weigh gain. Why we gain weight with fake sugars: The short and sweet of it… fake sugars keep you feeling hungry, craving sweets and storing more fat. When you eat real sugar, it allows your body to actually determine that it has received enough calories, which then activates your satiety signaling system, or feel full hormones. When you use artificial sweeteners, that lack the calories, your appetite is activated by the sweet taste. The problem arises when your body keeps waiting for the calories to come, but then nothing arrives and the sensations of hunger remains. Artificial sweeteners don’t activate the food reward pathways in the same way as natural sweeteners do. Artificial sweeteners, because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence. Another reason for aspartame's potential to cause weight gain is because phenylalanine and aspartic acid, the two amino acids that make up 90 percent of aspartame, are known to stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are involved with feeling full, fat storage and metabolism.