I recently wrote about fake fats causing weight gain so thought I should also write about fake sugars since they are in far more foods than fake fats. You may think artificial sweeteners are only in diet sodas but they are also in cereal, sugar free gelatin, diet desserts, most chewing gums and lots of other products. Check the ingredient panel on food labels and look for aspartame, sucrolose, saccharin, acesulfame K (also known as acesulfame potassium), and D-tagatose.
Several major studies have shown that people who regularly consume artificial sweeteners weigh more and have a higher waist circumference. The more sweetener people consumed, the more weight they gained. The reason for the weight gain isn’t clear. For years, scientists theorized that people who drank zero calorie diet soda rewarded their good behavior by indulging in greasy burgers or rich desserts. But recent research shows that this may not be the case. The new studies show that artificial sweeteners may actually interfere with the body’s metabolism in a way that causes weight gain.
Another problem with artificial sweeteners is that they may raise blood glucose levels. Remember that people with diabetes have relied on artificial sweeteners for years, thinking they didn’t raise blood sugar. A new study shows that the opposite may be true. All of those sugar free candies, cookies and drinks may actually raise blood glucose levels!
One more problem with artificial sweeteners is that they may cause people to crave sugar and calories. The theory is that when you taste artificial sweeteners, which are hundreds or thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, other sweet foods no longer taste sweet. So when you crave something sweet you’ll choose high calorie cheesecake over low calorie strawberries. Plus, when the body tastes something sweet that doesn’t have calories (so something with artificial sweeteners) it gets confused. Where are the calories? The body reacts by making you crave food so you’ll eat and the body will get those missing calories.
There are many different types of artificial sweeteners so you may think one is better than another but research is showing that all of these sweeteners have problems. For instance, scientists believe that even more “natural” sweeteners like the new ones made from the stevia plant, can boost cravings and make people eat more because it is so much sweeter than sugar.
Bottom line: Ditch the artificial sweeteners. Your waistline will thank you.