The Problem with Artificial Sweeteners
Many people replace their sugar intake by using products with artificial sweeteners, thinking that these are lower in calories and that they do not affect blood sugar levels. However, scientists are finding that although consumers may avoid the calories there are other repercussions that may be harmful to them.
Dr. Devendra Mehta, a gastroenterologist at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children states that artificial are not helpful as a diet aid because people who have a diet soda end up overcompensating by eating another slice of pizza or cake, thinking that they are having less calories anyway.
Recent scientific studies show that consuming artificial sweeteners may actually increase weight and contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome, a combination of excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Sweeteners actually stimulate rather than control sweet cravings, says Dr. David Ludwig, obesity expert and professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and consumers may later find less intensely sweet foods like fruits and vegetables less appealing.
Tim Osborne, professor of diabetes and obesity research at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Lake Nona suggests that the problem with non-caloric sweeteners is that the body senses them using the same mechanisms used to sense sugar, causing the body to absorb more sugar from the diet and potentially converting more of that energy to fat. He adds that studies in mice have shown that non-nutritive sweeteners increase their efficiency in absorbing sugar from their diet. Scientists think that receptors in the pancreas are activated to increase insulin secretion which may affect the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Jameson, M. Artificial sweeteners can spark not-so-sweet problems. Chicago Tribune.
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