I am frequently asked in my office and while speaking around the country, my opinion of artificial sweeteners. I internally cringe as the words are formulated in almost universal harmony with the last person that asked the question, weeks prior and states away: “Are artificial sweeteners better (cause less weight gain) than sugar or high fructose corn syrup?”
Using a great deal of prudence with my answer as I certainly will be stuck between a rock and a hard place before I add the period to my final sentence, I answer in what I admit is a disgusting display of political correctness. Well…forget that!
Today, in our fine South East Idaho periodical, I shall throw the fetters of the ‘please everyone’ mentality and tell you the blatant truth: They cause weight gain. In an “I can get away with the super-size parcel if I have a diet drink” manner and in a “that tasted sweet, I think I will have a candy bar” method as well. Not only that, they cause you to eat the whole super-sized meal need it or not! Scientifically stated, they increase the cephalic (head) phase of intake, and change hormones to make your appetite increase.
One study showed metabolism slowing (via a drop in core body temperature) in our fine rat friends after a meal involving saccharin. That covers one bullet point (and there are many) in my outline of objections to the artificial sweeteners.
The question that should be asked in this setting is what is the lesser of the evils?
Respectfully I have to disagree. We investigated the research, and in caloric-controlled situations, there was no notable difference in consuming artificial sweeteners: http://examine.com/faq/is-diet-soda-bad-for-you.html
The problem is likely that people don’t realize that the decrease in calories from soda->diet soda is more than offset by their other increased consumption (eg supersized fries).
Thank you for your comments. I do not have the references in-front of me, but I would be happy to send you a few articles for review. ALL measures controlled and accounted for (including bio-markers, body comp, prescription eating plans and exercise programs, detailed behavioral intervention, etc.) in 30 years of helping people lose weight, diet sodas hinder results. Drop them, and things start moving again. Obviously there is a lot of person-to-person variability. But there is with everything in life. Thanks again and the best to you and what you do.
Dr Willey – thank you for your reasoned response.
Please do send me those articles – I have no investment in the pro- or anti- groups, I just want the truth 🙂
Awesome! I am with you. I could give a (beep), I just want people to reach their goals, get healthy, and most of all: enjoy life!! I get the sense you like scientific studies as I do, but I am posting a easy to read review so everyone can feel comfortable. Thanks again for your comments.
Well we can definitely agree to that 🙂
Alas the problem with this study are three big ones:
1. It was in rats
2. It used saccharin, which is no longer used in public
3. It did not directly match up caloric intake.
So far, any and all double-blind studies conducted on humans have found no difference. If anything, a tiny study showed that sweeteners could increase leptin, which helps in satiety.
Back to clinical experience…Studies or not – I have nothing but many, many years in the trenches.
With Leptin, the people that have to worry are all leptin resistant, so I do not think any benefit can be assumed either.
Right – except rats weren’t getting leptin resistant, so injecting overweight rats with leptin caused dramatic fat loss. Alas, the same did not translate to humans 🙁