Have you noticed the increased supply of diet or zero calories products these days? You would think these products would help people lose weight, but in reality obesity rates have sky-rocketed higher than ever. In fact, some researchers claim that these low fat, low calorie foods are actually contributing to weight gain and making people fatter, not skinnier.
Most of us think if we replace coke with diet coke, or use Splenda in our coffee instead of sugar, we are sticking to a healthy weight loss plan. While it’s true that many have zero calories and zero carbs, they may still have a negative impact on your weight reduction program. In fact the negative effects of the chemicals added to these foods probably outweigh the reduced calorie intake.
Research has shown artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain and stronger sweet cravings than real sugar. This is because when the sweet taste of the artificial sweetener hits your tongue, it stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin’s job is to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too high by removing excess sugar from your bloodstream and storing it as body fat.
Even if you have used artificial sweetener and haven’t consumed sugar at all, that sweet taste will stimulate an insulin response. The insulin enters your bloodstream and does its job of converting blood sugar into fat - there is always a certain amount of sugar in your blood, usually from starches or other carbohydrates. This conversion happens whether you have just eaten sugar or not. So you can see how the artificial sweeteners can have much the same effect on your fat cells as sugar.
That’s not the only problem with artificial sweeteners. They can actually lower your blood sugar levels, leading to sugar cravings. The insulin response, which happens when your body thinks it is consuming sugar, is designed to keep your blood sugar levels stable. however if you eat artificial sweeteners, the insulin can lower your blood sugar levels to the point where you start craving sugar. This is why studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can actually stimulate your appetite.
Lastly, and most importantly, researchers have started to place artificial sweeteners in the same harmful category of neuroexcitoxins as MSG, which may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's disease. So these sweeteners are not only unlikely to help you to lose weight, they may also damage your long term health too.
If it says sugar free, watch out! Any processed food with that label is likely to contain artificial sweeteners. This includes breath mints, chewing gum, diet sodas, candy, chocolate, ice cream, pudding, jello and yogurt.
The food manufacturers will rarely let you know directly that their products contain sweeteners, so you need to read the label carefully and know what you are looking for. Names to watch out on the label include Aspartame, Acesulfame potassium, Neotame, Saccharin and Sucralose.
If you are following a strict, diet plan and not seeing results, think about cutting out the diet sodas and ‘no-sugar’ processed foods. Read the labels carefully and watch out for these toxic sweeteners. Even better, stick to natural, unprocessed foods and you can’t go wrong. If you think that diet and calorie-free products are an easy route to weight loss diet, it’s time to think again!
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