Cooking is Like Science

Cooking is Like Science
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Recap of Article on Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Bad For You

Why Artificial Sweeteners are bad for you

   We live in a time when being thin is in. But most of us are fat, even if it is only a little. Some of us just look fat, but there are other problems going on that are causing us to be overweight. Whatever the problem or reason is, Americans do not want to be overweight. We also know that being overweight will bring up the risk of heart attack and other various illnesses. So, ways to either not gain weight or to loss weight sound appealing to us. Thus, many Americans turn to artificial sweeteners for help.

   What are the risks that go with using artificial sweeteners though? I read an article this morning by Mercola which gives one reason why using artificial sweeteners is not good. I will post part of that article here. It is found at:

Why Artificial Sweeteners Are NOT a Dieter's (or Diabetic's) Best Friend

Despite being promoted for weight loss, foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners have never actually been proven to help weight loss. On the contrary, studies that look at this actually find artificial sweeteners promote weight gain. Part of the reason why artificial sweeteners don't work as advertised (such as help you lose weight and manage your insulin) relates to the fact that your body is not fooled by sweet taste without accompanying calories.9

Scientific American10 previously ran an article explaining the science behind this phenomenon. In a nutshell, when you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which supplies you with a jolt of pleasure. Your brain's reward center is activated.

The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are "full" once a certain amount of calories have been ingested. In contrast, when you consume something sweet but non-caloric (i.e. an artificial sweetener), your brain's pleasure pathway is still activated by the sweet taste, but there's nothing to deactivate it, since your body is still waiting for the calories. As a result, you may end up overeating.

Another recent report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism11 found that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, including excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.12, 13 The sad fact is, Americans in particular are addicted to sweet flavors, which appears to trigger a complex set of biological systems, pathways, and mechanisms that in the end leads leads to excess weight gain—whether that flavor comes loaded with calories or not.

While sugar is bad for you, it doesn't appear that artificial sweeteners are any better. They may also be worse for other reasons I will not go into here. 

  There are other alternatives to sugar which are much better, but they are more expensive than sugar or artificial sweeteners. The best ones are xylitol and stevia. Xylitol is very expensive and I haven't found that it sweetens very well, but it does resemble sugar and it is a product completely independent of sugar. Stevia is very good, but also expensive. I had been using the Stevia in the Raw product until someone pointed out that the powdered version is really maltodextrin with drops of Stevia. I ordered liquid stevia through and I think that will be a good alternative for me. 

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