Nowadays, many individuals turn to artificial sweeteners as a substitute for their sugary counterparts. What most of us aren’t aware of, however, is how dangerous these chemicals have been demonstrated to be in countless scientific studies. Aside from the many neurological implications brought about by these artificial sweeteners, a surprising finding is the fact that they can actually cause you to GAIN weight – rather than lose it. If this is so, then that would defeat the purpose of consuming these zero-calorie sweeteners in the first place.
THE BAD, BAD, AND THE UGLY!
by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Nowadays, many individuals turn to artificial sweeteners as a substitute for their sugary counterparts. What most of the public isn’t aware of, however, is how dangerous these chemicals have been demonstrated to be in countless scientific studies.
Aside from the many neurological implications brought about artificial sweeteners, a surprising finding is the fact that can actually cause you to GAIN weight – rather than lose it.
If this is so, then that would defeat the purpose of consuming these zero-calorie sweeteners in the first place.
But before we jump into the negative consequences of artificial sweeteners, let’s have a quick look at how rampant they’ve become in our food supply…
THIS FIRST GRAPH REPRESENTS THE GROWING GLOBAL MARKET FOR ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS (in US $billions)
THIS SECOND GRAPH SHOWS THE “SWEETENERS” MARKET SHARE IN RELATION TO SUGAR…
THIS NEXT GRAPH SHOWS THE RACE BETWEEN THE BIG 3 ZERO-CALORIE SWEETENERS
WEIGHT GAIN – AN UNKNOWN ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER SIDE EFFECT
Contrary to popular belief, replacing blatant sugar with artificially sweeteners like splenda, aspartame, or others won’t necessarily not help you lose weight. A 2008 study from PurdueUniversity compared rats eating yogurt that had been sweetened with glucose (simple sugar), compared to rats eating yogurt sweetened with a zero-calorie substitute called saccharin.
The study showed that the rats consuming the zero-calorie substitute gained more body fat, more overall weight, and that even after cessation of the saccharin intake, they were unable to make up for this weight gain.
The question that this brings to mind for most people is how does something that contains zero calories cause you to gain more weight than something loaded with sugar?
The answer lies in how the intake of these sneaky chemicals confuses your body’s sensory systems. Normally, sweet foods provide a “salient orosensory stimulus” that strongly predicts that you are about to take in a lot of calories.
Ingestive and digestive reflexes gear up for that intake but when false sweetness (such as by using artificial sweeteners) isn’t followed by lots of calories, the system gets confused. Thus, people may eat more or expend less energy than they otherwise would.
The researchers in the Purdue study stated that by breaking the connection between a sweet sensation and high-calorie food, the use of saccharin changes the body’s ability to regulate intake, and that this change is heavily dependent on experience.
Problems with self-regulation might explain in part why obesity has risen in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners. It also might explain why research on the human use of artificial sweeteners is inconclusive, with various studies finding evidence of weight loss, weight gain or little effect.
Because people may have different experiences with artificial and natural sweeteners, human studies that don’t take into account prior consumption may produce a variety of outcomes.
Nonetheless, in this particular, the authors concluded that…
“The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar.”
And even though this study was done on rats, they noted that their findings match emerging evidence that people who drink more diet drinks are at higher risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome, a collection of medical problems such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance that put people at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Though an increase in appetite is one contributing factor to the weight gain caused by artificial sweeteners, the chemical imbalances and confusion they create inside your body work in other ways as well.
For instance, frequent consumption of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners can impair your body’s normal metabolic response to food intake. Since your body begins to realize it can no longer predict with accuracy when it is getting foods with calories, as opposed to foods that only taste like they do, the typical metabolic boost you get from eating food (ie. thermic effect of food) decreases. This makes it harder to expend more calories from dietary intake.
Needless to say, there are studies that show weight loss is possible when substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar but in many cases these studies have been influenced or funded by corporations with a vested interested in their results (more on this later).
ASPARTAME – THE CONTROVERSIAL ORIGINS OF THE “SUPER” ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER
Aspartame, which is by far the most prominent artificial sweetener currently used in diet products, is also the most controversial of them all (you’ll see in the next section). Its origins are questionable, to say the least. Many claim it never should have been allowed on the market. The few who argue it is safe, have very little ground to stand on for those educated on how it became approved.
Many of the studies done to determine the safety of aspartame, in the process of its approval as a food additive, have had severe conflicts of interest mainly due to inappropriate by Searle, the very same company that produces NutraSweet (their “street name” for aspartame).
Dr. Robert Walton investigated the claims made that Searle essentially bought their way into the market. The results he found were quite shocking. In the 166 studies that he found to have relevance in regards to human safety, 74 of those studies had been funded by Searle. The 92 remaining studies were funded independently.
Unsurprisingly, of the 74 studies that were funded by Searle, 100% of them claimed that aspartame was safe for human use. As far as the independently funded studies, 92% of them found health concerns in regards to aspartame, and found it to be unsafe for human consumption.
Even before aspartame had come to this point, it encountered numerous legal, political, ethical, and moral barriers. Aspartame was inadvertently discovered back in 1965, by a chemist working on an ulcer medication. The timeline between when aspartame was discovered to when it was released on the market is blemished with countless actions of deception from Searle.
One of the earliest tests, done by the University of Wisconsin in 1967 by Dr. Harold Waisman, had been conducted on monkeys who drank milk which contained aspartame. Of the seven monkeys being fed the mixture, one died and five others experienced grandular seizures. Despite these early warning signs, Searle pushed on.
In 1971, a neuroscientist by the name of Dr. John Olney, conducted several studies which showed that the aspartic acid found in aspartame, caused holes in the brains of baby mice. Later, one of Searle’s own researchers, conducted a similar study and concluded the same results as the ones demonstrated by Dr. Olney. Again, Searle pushed on.
In 1976, an FDA investigation of Searle was initiated, sparked by the many concerns that Searle’s personal studies on aspartame were inconsistent with research from independent studies.
The investigation results found Searle’s tests were not only full of inaccuracies, but also manipulated data. An investigator involved was quoted as stating they “had never seen anything as bad as Searle’s testing.”
Shortly after the investigation, the FDA sent a formal request to the U.S. Attorney’s office to begin grand jury proceedings. Not surprisingly, one of the most significant events of this procession saw Samuel Skinner, the U.S. Attorney in charge of the investigation, resigning from the attorney’s office and taking a position within Searle’s law firm, allowing Searle to buy themselves out a bad situation.
In spite of the fact that 75% of all health complaints are related to the use of aspartame, its use continues.
And if this hasn’t scared you enough, then consider that the “G.D. Searle and Co” (mentioned as Searle above) became the pharmaceutical unit of Monsanto in 1985 – one of the most criminal and monopolist agricultural companies in the world.
It should come as no surprise then that the Searle pharmaceutical division was responsible for the development of one of the biggest pharmaceutical disasters of our time – Celebrex.
Just something to think about next time you’re deciding how to sweeten your coffee or tea.
Page 1 2
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.
YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT