Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This article is a keeper and a "sharer"

THE DANGERS OF DIET SODA and artificial sweeteners

Story at-a-glance (but read the entire article at the link above. It includes a video by Dr. Sanjay Gupta)

  • Despite being promoted for weight loss, foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners have never been proven to help weight loss. In fact, studies that look at this actually find people gain weight when they use them
  • A recent review of diet soda studies found that diet soda drinkers suffer the same health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • The watchdog group The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently downgraded its safety rating of sucralose (Splenda) from "safe" to "caution," meaning it "may pose a risk and needs to be better tested”
  • The most comprehensive and longest human study looking at aspartame toxicity found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and leukemia

The authors of the report—who were “shocked” at the results—looked at studies published in the past five years that examine the relationship between diet soda consumption and health outcomes:

“This paper discusses these findings and considers the hypothesis that consuming sweet-tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy homeostasis.

Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements,” they wrote.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the report in the CNN video above, explaining that artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar, but when the sugar doesn’t arrive, your body signals that it needs more, which results in carb cravings. Most people give in to such signals and end up overeating on other foods and snacks.

In a study6 of artificial sweeteners performed on college students, there was no evidence that artificial sweetener use was associated with a decrease in their overall sugar intake either. These results indicate that eating arti­ficial sweeteners simply perpetuates a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.

In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study7 also showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda.8 According to Sharon Fowler, M.P.H:

“On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese.”

This finding supports a 2004 study9 at Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids. The researchers believe the experience of drinking artificially sweetened liquids disrupted the animals' natural ability to compensate for the calories in the food. A more recent review, published in June 2010 in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine,10 delves into the neurobiology of sugar cravings and summarizes the epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight. The author states:

“Several large scale prospective cohort studies found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. …Preload experiments generally have found that sweet taste, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhanced human appetite.