Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Dieting and artifical sweetners

View Full Version : Dieting and artifical sweetners

12-12-2012, 10:09 PM
Ive read a bunch of stuff about artificial sweeteners and there impact on diet. One point of view says that artificial sweetners have no impact on you and your diet and this is why diabetics can use them without problems. The other viewpoint is that your body reacts to artificial sweetners the same way as sugar so you shouldnt have alot of them especially in diet sodas.
Anyone have some answers out there? I cant find much online thats scientific just lots of diet plan advise.

12-12-2012, 10:41 PM
I don't have a bunch of data for you...
I have read some information that backs up both of those point of views, it is confusing!
The reason anti-artifical sweetener info says that your body reacts the same way to sugar when you have them is because Splenda/Sweet n low/ Equal, etc. taste sweet, and when your taste buds sense that they tell your brain "hey, something sweet is coming your way, get ready!" so then your body reacts by preparing to create insulin, but then it senses that there is no actual sugar coming in, so your body readjusts its insulin response.
They're safe for diabetics because your blood sugar doesn't actually go up when you ingest them, they just don't cause the same insulin spike, even if they make your brain think it's getting sugar.

My opinion- I'd rather trick my brain into thinking I'm eating something sweet rather than deal with damage that sugar can cause.

Diet drinks are talked about as bad because the studies they do are on people who drink them all day long, constantly, so yeah they're ingesting way more artificial sweeteners than they should be

12-12-2012, 10:52 PM
I don't have any scientific data but thought I'd tell you that I have been using Sweet & Low since I started my lifestyle change and it hasn't inhibited my weight loss at all.

As far as them being safe which is talked about a lot, I figured I was doing way more harm to my body with all of the high calorie, high fat, chemicals, etc. (white sugar, white flour, saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) I was eating before so I basically traded risk with myself. And I have far less Sweet & Low vs. all the junk I used to eat.

12-12-2012, 10:57 PM
uh huh, what elvislover said.

12-12-2012, 11:09 PM
All I know is that I drank diet soda while fat, I drank diet soda while losing weight, and I drink diet soda while maintaining. I can't stand regular soda, which is why I drank/drink diet.

I probably should stop, but it hasn't effected my weight loss/maintenance, so I never really had the desire to.

12-12-2012, 11:56 PM
I use splenda, I drink crystal light, and I occasionally have a diet soda. I have no ill effects from them. I personally think it depends on each person. Some can tolerate it and some can't. Some can only tolerate certain ones. If you'd like to use artificial sweetener then experiment for yourself, that's the only way to get yourself a good answer.

As for health risks that we wouldn't be able to easily see, I'm with elvislover on that one. I'll take the small risk compared to what I was doing to myself before. My doctors agree with that too.

12-13-2012, 02:06 AM
I'm at school to become a Registered Dietitian and we had a whole lecture on artificial sweeteners. I can tell you that according to the FDA and Health Canada artificial sweeteners will not inhibit your weight loss and are safe to use within reasonable limits (they leave a substantial "buffer zone" between what they suggest you limit your consumption to and how much of it you would need to consume to actually cause toxicity).

The argument that artificial sweeteners cause a response to your body the same as sugar is false. That's why diabetics can use them safely. What some people suggest it does do is stimulates your body in preparation for sugar (releasing enzymes that your body would need to digest sugar) and then not giving it any, which makes you crave sugar more. I think it's more about being aware of your own body and how you react to artificial sweeteners.

Personally, I like to consume as little processed foods as possible, so artificial sweeteners are out for me. It was hard to quit them but I did and that, coupled with a few other changes, is how I started losing weight. Again, it's personal, but I feel better when I'm not consuming them and am very glad I made the switch.

12-13-2012, 02:25 AM
Do you hear about people falling into insulin comas all the time because they drank too much diet soda on an empty stomach?

Me neither.

If artificial sweeters did what some people say than people would be dropping like flies.

The reasearch actually shows us that some people have a tiny insulin response to the sweetness of artificial sweetners. This is irrelevant.

Disclaimer - I have no formal training but I can read.

As for whether or not artificial sweetners are good for you or not - that is a whole other debate which I'm not going to bother with because there are a whole lot of other things we're exposed to on a daily basis that are probably far worse. Such as - cars.

12-13-2012, 02:46 AM
I am not an expert, but I am a diabetic.

I lost 65 lbs. and am working at maintaining that weight loss.

I use artificial sweeteners, but sparingly.

I avoid sugar and some other foods that I need to avoid as a diabetic.

This works for me.

12-13-2012, 03:40 AM
idk about the science of it, but I know that there were a couple times when I stopped drinking diet pop (and didn't start drinking full sugar pop) and made no other apparent changes and I dropped 20 lbs in a few months both times. Maybe it's the sweetener, maybe it's the carbonation, maybe it's some psychological thing or something else entirely. But for whatever reason lots of diet pop doesn't help me. I drink maybe a couple or 3 cans a week now, but stick with water for the most part.

Misti in Seattle
12-13-2012, 08:47 AM
I won't touch the stuff. Giving them up is one of the smartest things I ever did. And John.. people ARE dropping like flies from those and all the other junk and chemicals the food supply is loaded with.

12-13-2012, 09:03 AM
I was a firm believer in calories in/calories out for a long time so I used artificial sweeteners. Not any more. I will use sweet-n-low because saccharin seems to react differently than aspartame and Sucralose. My dad is a diabetic and they don't seem to effect his weight at all, but for me, I don't seem to be able to lose weight if I drink diet soda. It makes me crave sweets. And fat.

12-13-2012, 10:46 AM
I love sweet stuff. Couldn't have lost the weight I did without artificial sweeteners. I would have caved and ate high calorie sweets.

12-13-2012, 01:33 PM
There is some evidence (not a lot, yet) that some artificial sweeteners (at present, I believe only aspartame has been tested, so other sweeteners may not have the same effect) can increase hunger, as rats given aspartame sweetened food ate more than rats given sugar sweetened food, but here's the catch...

Humans aren't rats. We can use calorie-counters and food journals to limit our calorie intake, and we can decide for ourselves whether we're willing to endure a little extra physical hunger in order to satisfy a craving for sweets.

I know for myself (by studying my food journals) that sugar and carbs in general cause much greater hunger/cravings than artificial sweeteners. Sugar free, artificially sweetened foods do make me a little hungrier, but not to the degree that sugar does (and I do wonder whether insulin resistant and diabetic rats would have had more hunger/eaten more with sugar than with the aspartame - from my own reaction I suspect so).

The only way to tell how your body and mind reacts to the artificial sweeteners is to experiment. Try three months with them and three months without, and repeat the experiment a few more times. During these trials keep track of your calorie intake, your weight loss, and your hunger/cravings. It will take you about 2 years to know for sure, but if your experimental trials are much shorter, coincidence could lead you to jump to false conclusions).

12-13-2012, 05:02 PM
I won't touch the stuff. Giving them up is one of the smartest things I ever did. And John.. people ARE dropping like flies from those and all the other junk and chemicals the food supply is loaded with.

Do you have any evidence to back up this statement?

12-13-2012, 05:25 PM
I won't touch the stuff. Giving them up is one of the smartest things I ever did. And John.. people ARE dropping like flies from those and all the other junk and chemicals the food supply is loaded with.

Are they bad for everyone though? People "drop like flies" from healthy things like nuts and fruit because they're allergic. Nobody recommends we ALL stop eating them though.

Marrie Ann
12-13-2012, 06:15 PM
I have read that using of all artificial sweeteners for a long time is very risky for our bodies and may lead to cancer.
Just Stevia sweetener is a natural product and is acceptable to me.

12-14-2012, 09:54 AM
This topic is one of many that is difficult to really understand if we want scientific information. The science is out there, but there are many more claims that are not based on science, so you really have to look for it. And when you do find it, you have to be able to interpret it correctly.

I teach college classes on research design and 2 things I always teach my students to look for are: 1) What's the sample being studied and 2) how did they measure what they're looking at?.

Regarding samples, Kaplods point that humans aren't rats is correct! We cannot necessarily conclude that what happens to them generalizes to us. Clinical trials for medicine used to only be conducted with men, so do those results apply to women. Are obese people different from non-obese? The research is out there, but there may not be enough to conclude it applies to a specific group.

As for the measurement, it is a broad question -- did they just look at one sweetener - doest that apply to others? They studied diet sodas, but what about other foods??

Science is the only way to answer a number of questions, especially causal questions. And those causal questions can only be answered by experiments (much of the research is correlational) But every single study is very limited, by it's nature, and we have to be careful to build a correct picture.

All of that said, I once read that there is a lot of conflicting evidence about the value of a number of foods on diseases, e.g., red wine, coffee. Some studies find positive outcomes, others negative.

But diet soda didn't seem to have any 'positive' outcomes regarding diseases. In other words, diet soda may not harm you, but other than helping to reduce calorie intake, it doesn't seem to provide any other benefits (e.g., heart disease, cancer). So as a consumer, you can think about whether the calorie decrease is enough for you given the possible health issues. Personally, I have decreased the diet soda I drink, but have not given it up entirely.

Misti in Seattle
12-14-2012, 08:51 PM
Do you have any evidence to back up this statement?

It's certainly not something I am going to get into a debate over.

I've done my thorough research on the additives and processing methods that are in our "food-like substances" and it is very convincing to me. If others want to eat and drink all that stuff, go for it. :) Personally, I think the obesity proportion and ill health of our society in general pretty well speaks for itself.

Misti in Seattle
12-14-2012, 08:57 PM
This is where my thread went lol it went missing but I found it! Please remember I wasnt asking if they were good for you just if they affected your body like sugar does cause Ive read tons of stuff all contradicting itself. :)

Good point. :) and well taken.

I will graciously dance right on out of this discussion. :dance:

12-14-2012, 10:13 PM
I believe each of us is capable of driving ourselves NUTS.

I am almost ready for medicare. Yikes.

My father was born in 1909 and he used to say "Everything in moderation." He lived to 96.

A little artificial sweetener won't kill anyone. My take on the subject is don't use them... unless on Phase 1 of South Beach for 2 weeks.

At the end of the day... it is all about calories... use real sugar and just use small quantities like decades ago.

The part of what I have read that resonates with me is "Artificial sweeteners don't satisfy your body's desire for natural sweet and by using them your body craves MORE natural sweet and then you eat all sorts of JUNK with corn sugar."