Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"The Dirty Dozen" #10

10. Artificial Sweeteners: by Jordan Rubin

Dieting and artifical sweeteners go together like...ham and eggs? Mea culpa for the jarring smile, but the huge demand for low calorie and sugar free foods and beverages by those seeking to consume fewer calories has created a $6 billion market for artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose are found in umpteen thousands of foods as well as in blue, pink, and yellow packets of Equal, Sweet N' Low, and Splenda found on restraunt tables.

If you have always thought that artificial sweeteners will help you lose weight, you might want to rethink your position. Reserachers at Purdue University say these sugar substitutes could interfere with the bodys natural ability to count calories based on a foods sweetness. In other words, drinking a diet soft drink instead of the full octane sugar version will reduce you caloric intake, but it could also trick the body into thinking that other sweet items dont have as many calories either. This sort of thinking gives weight conscious people another mental alibi for overindulging in sweet foods and beverages.

I understand the rationale behind drinking low-cal or no-cal drinks--lower total caloric intake--but spping artificially sweetened drinks is not the solution. Sweeteners like aspartame are addicting. Read this edited exchange between skeptical Bill O' Reily host of the O' Reilly Factor, and Shari Lieberman, PhD, a certified nutrition specialist:

Bill: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, Americans drink billions of gallons of diet soda a year. Its incredible how much we consume. And some believe millions of Americans are addicted to the stuff. They have to have it.
With us now is Dr. Shari Lieberman, a certified nutrition specialist her ein NYC.
All right, so its--tenn billion cases of soda sold every year in the USA, and 30% of that, approximately, is diet soda, and I know people who walk around all day long drinking diet soda. What is that all about??

Shari: Its unbelievable. It is such an addicting substance. You have the aspartame, the Nutra Sweet, combined with the caffeine. Youre basically getting a rush all day. It actually messes with your brain chemicals, Bill.

Bill: Does it really?

Shari: It really does. You know, aspartic acid actually makes what we call excitatory neurostransmitters. Imagine we have a balance of ones that calm us down and ones that hype us up. So, if youre drinking something thats going to make the ones that are excitatory or making us hyper all day long, thats why there are so many side effects associated with NutraSweet, such as irritabiility and anxiety...

Bill: Now is this physically addicting, do you believe, or is it psychological?

Shari: I believe its physically addicting. You know, we know that caffeine is. So youve got a ton of caffeine in the diet sodas. Then you actually have a substanc thats affecting neurotransmitters. So theyre really getting a double whammy, and, of course, were tlaking about people that are drinking it all day long.

Bill: Yes, and they think that, well, I can drink it all day long because theres no calories in it, Im not going to get fat. Go ahead.

Shari: I have to tell you something about that. If you look at the research, people that drink diet sodas are oftentimes, eating more calories than people drinking regular sodas.

I already made the last point, but Id like to make another: as bad as sugar and HFCS can be for your body, Id rather you consume them than artificail sweeteners. Theyre that bad for you.

1 comment:

Joey said...

hmmmm.... wheels are turning...

I hear a lot of stuff. I don't consume a lot of artificial sweeteners, but I wonder how much it takes for it to have an affect like that. One sweet n low in your morning coffee... is that going to trigger an all day problem?

Interesting research. Thanks for sharing. I just drink water :) its easy that way! haha, but I DO put regular sugar in my coffee. One or two spoons a morning isn't going to kill me!