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Artificial Sweetners Linked to Obesity

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Old 09-18-2014, 01:30 AM   #1
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Default Artificial Sweetners Linked to Obesity

http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/topstories/...-say-1.2769196

Linked to the article -- in short, Nature will publish study results that may MAY indicate a link between atrificial sweetners and obesity due to a change in digestive bacterial flora. Researchers adknowledge that while a link may exist, the study size was small.

This explains why my brother, who is addicted to diet sodas and doesn't eat significantly more than others is almost 400lbs.

SUPERimportant news -- I'm off the artificial sweetner train for good as of right now.

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Old 09-18-2014, 12:50 PM   #2
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We read that paper a few days ago at work - it overlaps somewhat with our work in microbiota characterization. It's fascinating stuff. The glycan degradation pathways contributing to "enhanced energy harvest and enrichment" as stimulation for new glucose and lipid synthesis really triggers some interesting questions about the effects of no-calorie "foods" on metabolism. And I'm putting my Splenda away for good.
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Old 10-30-2014, 08:20 PM   #3
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When I was researching food additives years ago in university, for a paper, a lot of what I found was about aspartame specifically (e.g. a study where aspartame was put in water for rats, and they ate more food than the rats given regular water). But I wonder if this is aspartame-specific, and what effects other sweeteners have under the same conditions.

For instance, would stevia have a similar effect? It's a naturally occurring resource, and logically people may have eaten the plant traditionally (I don't know much about stevia)... did those people eat more, or gain weight? Would they today?

I avoid the artificial stuff, but I may also consider avoiding things like stevia because it seems like even if people eat the plant, they probably did so in small quantities... the way it's extracted, and the way ANY sweeteners are added to foods in bulk is kind of disturbing...
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Old 10-30-2014, 08:48 PM   #4
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I eat a lot of artificial sweeteners. They are not the most healthy but I think any evidence that they promote weight gain is very shaky, at least compared to the alternatives i.e. sugar, honey.

Saying that I do think a healthy gut flora is very important. I have one, despite artificial sweeteners, and I digest stuff quick. Too quick sometimes.

Kim chi has worked well for me.
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Old 10-31-2014, 03:03 AM   #5
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You don't get to almost 400 pounds eating normally and drinking diet coke. You can get to almost 400 pounds drinking diet coke and eating normally in front of other people and eating secretly alone. I think I eat more food in front of other people now while restricting than I did 80 pounds ago.

I get that they're horrible for you in a lot of ways and I feel guilty for relying on them as much as I do. Honestly right now calorie counting they get me through the day. When I get to goal and up my calorie intake I plan to switch my focus off of quantity of food and over to quality of food and I'll say good bye to them.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:43 AM   #6
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I use splenda in my coffee (2-3 times a week), but that's about it. I know artificial sweeteners aren't healthy, so I've been cutting back on them a lot. I haven't drank diet pop in over a month. I had a small sip of regular coke a week ago, but that's the only pop I've had since I decided to cut it out of my diet.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:10 PM   #7
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You don't get to almost 400 pounds eating normally and drinking diet coke. You can get to almost 400 pounds drinking diet coke and eating normally in front of other people and eating secretly alone. I think I eat more food in front of other people now while restricting than I did 80 pounds ago.

I get that they're horrible for you in a lot of ways and I feel guilty for relying on them as much as I do. Honestly right now calorie counting they get me through the day. When I get to goal and up my calorie intake I plan to switch my focus off of quantity of food and over to quality of food and I'll say good bye to them.
But the question is, can diet coke cause you to eat abnormally?

Because that's what the studies showed with aspartame, for rats. The rats ate significantly more food when they had aspartame in their water.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:44 PM   #8
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I use splenda in my coffee (2-3 times a week), but that's about it. I know artificial sweeteners aren't healthy, so I've been cutting back on them a lot. I haven't drank diet pop in over a month. I had a small sip of regular coke a week ago, but that's the only pop I've had since I decided to cut it out of my diet.
Me, too. To cut that little out would, believe it or not, be hard and I dunno how much good it would do. I do drink a nearly-daily protein shake and for that I use liquid stevia. I've never drank diet soda so very little aspartame at all my entire life and I sometimes, too, drink a regular soda just because I feel like it. I just think to use a lot of artificial stuff goes against my whole "clean eating" mantra whether there is anything to the study or not.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:48 PM   #9
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I'm on Phase 1 of SBD right now, so no fruit, no sugar, nothing sweet at all... I don't think I'd be able to adhere properly without artificial sweeteners in some form or another. Better than going off the wagon, in my opinion. I've been losing weight despite them, so I'm not really that worried, to be honest. Once I'm on Phase 2 and can have the occasional fruit again, I think it'll be easier to wean myself off of the stuff. Giving up sweetness is just not sustainable for me.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:25 PM   #10
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But the question is, can diet coke cause you to eat abnormally?

Because that's what the studies showed with aspartame, for rats. The rats ate significantly more food when they had aspartame in their water.

Could it? Yes. But must it? I think not.

Unlike rats, human beings do not have to rely solely on instinct in this. We have tools and cognitive abilities a rat doesn't.

A rat can't count calories (or points, or servings...). A hungry rat isn't going to turn down food because it wants to lose a few grams. Rat's don't have weight loss support groups or the ability to cognitively evaluate their food choices.

Personally, I find that all sweeteners (and carbohydrates in general) increase my appetite, hunger, and interest in food), but I'm willing to work a little harder at weight loss in order to enjoy sweet or carby foods occasionally. To that end, I've decided that for myself, low-calorie sweeteners (natural and artificial) are the "lesser evil" in comparison with high-carb, high-calorie, natural sweeteners.

A potato or a piece of fruit often leaves me hungrier than a diet soda.

My food choices would be very limited if I gave up every food that has ever peaked my appetite.
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Old 01-15-2015, 08:30 PM   #11
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Could it? Yes. But must it? I think not.

Unlike rats, human beings do not have to rely solely on instinct in this. We have tools and cognitive abilities a rat doesn't.

A rat can't count calories (or points, or servings...). A hungry rat isn't going to turn down food because it wants to lose a few grams. Rat's don't have weight loss support groups or the ability to cognitively evaluate their food choices.
Oh, I completely agree. That's why I qualified "in rats" and asked a question, rather than making a conclusion.

We definitely have cognitive abilities rats don't have, but as you've identified (and assuming aspartame has the same physical effect on humans, which it might not), we may have to exercise those abilities to continue losing weight.

I see that as a problem in itself for someone like me, because when I'm hungry, I'm more affected by that than by my resolve to lose weight. That is not true for everyone. Luckily I can stay full by making other cognitive choices, like eating more protein and fat, and paying attention to what makes me hungry shortly after. (Mind you, my avoidance of diet sodas has nothing to do with hunger issues)
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:50 PM   #12
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Don't get me wrong. Appetite and hunger control often plays a HUGE role for many of us (and certainly me.)

It's just all a matter of trial and error to determine which strategies work (and at what cost).

Non-sugar sweeteners are a controversial, hot button topic, and it's difficult to find accurate, unbiased, science-based information and even more difficult to sort out the myths and misinformation.

Personally, I've reduced my sweetener use quite significantly because of the hunger and potential health effects, but I have not been persuaded to entirely eliminate them.

I also use a multitude of different sweeteners because I believe most of the risks are dose-related. More types of sweeteners means less of each. And many sweeteners have a synergistic sweetening effect when used in combination, so you can use significantly less sweetener in total, by combining sweeteners.

Not only does combining let you use less sweetener, it also (imo) tends to taste better as it seems to lessen the intensity of aftertaste common in some sweeteners.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:54 PM   #13
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I consume a ton of artificial sweeteners.

Are they good for me? Probably not.

Do they make me fat? Absolutely not.
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:27 AM   #14
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I also use a multitude of different sweeteners because I believe most of the risks are dose-related. More types of sweeteners means less of each. And many sweeteners have a synergistic sweetening effect when used in combination, so you can use significantly less sweetener in total, by combining sweeteners.

Not only does combining let you use less sweetener, it also (imo) tends to taste better as it seems to lessen the intensity of aftertaste common in some sweeteners.
Thanks for this great idea, kaplods. Do you consider stevia to be an artificial sweetener? Just curious--I'm trying it out to cut back on sucralose).
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:48 PM   #15
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Thanks for this great idea, kaplods. Do you consider stevia to be an artificial sweetener? Just curious--I'm trying it out to cut back on sucralose).
I really don't think or care one way or the other.

I consider all sweeteners and sweets (in the quantities and frequency most of us use them) very unnatural, even table sugar, corn syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, rice syrup, molasses, honey, fruit juice concentrate, even most fruits.

They're unnatural, because sugars and other high glycemic carbs are rare in the natural world and they require a lot of effort to come by.

I think the distinction between natural and unnatural and artificial is misleading, and given far too much weight. There are a lot of unsafe natural foods and substances and many safe artificial ones. Even the definitions are hazy and misleading. How much processing can be done to a "natural" substance before it is considered "unnatural" or "artificial?"

Instead of trying to define and classify, I try to study as much of the research as I can find, and make a case by case decision.

When processed Stevia first came into the chain grocery stores, there wasn't much research. The few studies I could find linked Stevia to reproductive organ birth defects in rodents (rats & hamsters).

I knew I wouldn't be having kids, so I wasn't too worried, but it did made me even more keenly aware that natural doesn't necessarily mean safer.

There's since been more research on Stevia, and so far, the birth defect effects seen in the older research hasn't been replicated.

The research can be confusing and misleading. Aspartame research taught me that. Many (if not all) of the negative effects of aspartame, for example, are actually caused by folate deficiency. Aspartame can't cause folate deficiency unless you're already on the cusp.

So simply by eating a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, or taking a folic acid supplement (I do both), you eliminate most of the adverse risks of aspartame unless you're a child or pregnant woman with the metabolic disorder PKU (in which case a banana or tomato is just as dangerous as diet Coke).

I just don't think the distinction between artificial and natural is all that important except in the broadest sense, as a guideline with many exceptions. For example, eating fewer processed foods is great in most instances, but the lycopene content in tomatoes is more accessible in processed tomatoes (tomato sauce, ketchup...) than fresh.

Another instance where natural isn't necessarily better are the sugar alcohols (also called fruit sugars). These are the sweeteners ending in -ol; sorbitol mailto, marital, erythromycin, xylitol...

They are derived from plants and fruits, but can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal discomfort in many people. This is usually dose-dependent, but many people are especially sensitive to one or more.

I'm so sensitive to sorbitol that even a single pear (can't get much more natural than that) can give me unpleasant symptoms, even diarrhea; while stilton (birch sugar, derived from birch bark, I believe) doesn't seem to bother me at all, even in significant doses.
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