hi what is wrong with artificial sweeteners (eg equal) in this diet? thanks
Karen made this question on the comment section of “Welcome to 20 No-Sugar Days Diet” , you can find her question here.
Update June 2018: Artificial sweeteners have a long historic health problem although they are still used by the main Beverages and Big Food Companies, as a better alternative to sugar. That’s not true at all. ArtificiSweeteners are empty in calories and they have a minimal effect on the blood. They may cause cravings that induce overeating of sweet foods. But there’s more. They also raise insulin levels, and that’s the biggest problem when you want to lose weight and prevent diabetes type 2.
“Despite having minimal effect on blood sugars, both aspartame (used in diet coke) and stevia (refined) raised insulin levels higher even than table sugar” from the book The Obesity Code .
Continually and constant high insulin levels lead to insulin resistance which is the cause of type 2 diabetes and the cause of obesity. When your insulin is high your body is in a “storing energy mode” meaning you store fat. As long as yout insulin levels are high you are always storing energy and never burning fat.
end of the note.
Thanks for your question. I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners – let me explain why.
In the 1970s saccharin, an artificial sweetener, was linked to increased risks of bladder cancer and all foods containing this ingredient were labeled with this warning “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.” by the US Congress.
During the following years, studies on saccharin continued but there was very little supporting evidence to link saccharin with bladder cancer incidence. So, in 2000, the “Contains saccharine” warning labels were removed.
A report in 1996 suggested that another artificial sweetener, called Aspartame, increased the risk of developing brain tumors but, again, there’s no clear link between aspartame and brain tumors.
In other words, while some initial studies raised concerns over the safety of these two artificial sweeteners, subsequent studies have been inconclusive.
Today, the FDA have approved these artificial sweeteners: Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame potassium, Sucralose and Neotame. (source cancer.gov )
However, there is a strong enough link between artificial sweeteners and diseases that, in my mind, they just aren’t worth the risk. Yes, they are free from calories but food is about more than just the calorie content; good health is important too.
As you know, I’m very big on eliminating added sugar from our diets, and this is the main reason I published my 20 No-Sugar Days Diet. So, if you don’t mind, allow me to share with you what I’ve learned about this topic.
One of the major problems of added sugar is that is it addictive. The more sugar you consume, the more cravings you develop, and that’s why a high sugar diet makes you crave more food, makes you want to snack more, you find yourself constantly eating, and, despite constantly snacking, you never feel full.
When you flood your body with sugar, your hunger and satiety hormones (leptin and ghrelin) stop working and your brain never gets the message that you are full. As a result, you just keep on eating. This causes weight gain.
Ok, so what do artificial sweeteners have to do with all this?
Artificial sweeteners make food taste very, VERY sweet despite containing almost zero calories, which sounds like the perfect thing, right? But it’s not. If you get used to very sweet food, you will crave more and more sweet-tasting food. Basically, a naturally sweet and healthy apple or orange will not taste very sweet because your sweet standard is so high due to all the super-sweet artificial sweeteners found in sodas and processed food.
You get so used to very sweet food that all the naturally sweet foods that are also healthy, such as fruit, dark chocolate, honey etc. or the non-processed foods like homecooked chicken, will taste bland and boring.
As a result, you’ll end up eating more very sweet processed food, which contains very high levels of added sugar and no nutrients, fibers or vitamins, to satisfy your craving for sweetness. Because of artificial sweeteners, you end up getting so used of super-sweet food that “natural” food that is not so sweet tastes like cardboard to you.
One of the best things about eliminating added sugar from your diet is not only will you lose weight, you will also start enjoy the real taste of food. You’ll learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of a good orange, or even enjoy a nice piece of pie but feel that one piece is enough because it’s too sweet to enjoy more.
As a result or cutting down on added sugar and artificial sweeteners, you naturally develop limits of how much sugar to eat. Your body knows the best, and, when you not addicted to added sugar, you can enjoy sensible amounts of chocolate or a candy and will naturally stop after a few bites. Not because somebody is saying that’s enough, but because your body is telling you that it tasted great but you don’t need any more for now.
This is the best way to make healthy food choices and, when it’s your body telling you what you need and not somebody else deciding for you, it’s much easier to make healthy decisions about food. You’ll WANT to eat more healthily.
For me, that’s the best thing of having a healthy diet; your body naturally makes the best food choices for you. Our bodies are all very different and where some of us can tolerate more carbs more fat, others prefer less protein but more vegetables: there’s no such thing as one rule for everybody.
When you give your body healthy food, you’ll receive many great benefits including more energy, greater mental focus, and less stress. With time, you’ll naturally know what your body prefers. As you make better choices, you’ll be rewarded with better results and start to notice how you feel when you make not so good choices too.
And let me say this; your body is not only a fast learner but it already knows what you should have on your next meal. Will you pick vegetables over French fries? Choosing French fries will make your brain happy for the next five minutes, but if you pick vegetables you’ll make your body happier for the next 50 minutes!
I most certainly went a long way around this topic but, as I said before, I really want you to understand the problems of added sugar and artificial sweeteners and how your life changes for the better if you eliminate these things from your diet. It’s such a simple change but it will have a tremendous impact on all your life.
Don’t believe me? No problem! Just try going 20 days without added sugar and artificial sweeteners and then share your experiences with us. I know you’ll be amazed at how differently you feel and look afterwards.
I hope that answers your great question and thanks for taking the time to read my in-depth answer.
Have a great day