By Dr. Mercola
As noted in the featured video, there are currently five different artificial sweeteners on the market. The one you’re most likely to encounter is aspartame, which also tends to be the worst of the bunch.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are primarily promoted to diabetics and those concerned about their weight. This despite the fact that artificial sweeteners have repeatedly been shown to produce the exact opposite effects:
- Research shows that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar
- Artificial sweeteners have also been found to promote weight gain, in more ways than one
Over time, artificial sweeteners have also crept into a wide variety of products not directly targeting diabetics and dieters.
Artificial sweeteners are added to about 6,000 different beverages, snacks, and food products, making label-reading an ever pressing necessity. Disturbingly, food industry groups are now trying to hide the presence of artificial sweeteners in certain foods…
Like GMOs, Industry Wants to Hide Artificial Sweeteners in Foods
Last year, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed a petition with the FDA requesting the agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products, in order to allow for the addition of artificial sweeteners without having to indicate their use on the label.
The IDFA claims the proposed amendments would “promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products” since many children are more inclined to drink flavored milk products than unflavored milk.
Not only is IDFA behind the push to put aspartame in milk, but they are also one of four trade organizations suing Vermont1 in an effort to overturn the state’s GMO labeling law, which was passed in May.
It would seem that, far from being concerned about providing Americans with high quality dairy, the IDFA is wholly invested in deceiving the American public for the benefit of the chemical technology industry. Why else would they be so insistent on hiding ingredients that are suspected of harmful effects?
Artificial Sweeteners Cause Metabolic Confusion
When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.
However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste, but there’s nothing to deactivate it, since the calories never arrive.
Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings.
Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners also promote other health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, including:
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke4,5,6
- Alzheimer’s disease. While poor diet is a major driver of Alzheimer’s in general (the primary culprits being sugar/fructose and grains, especially gluten), the key mechanism of harm here appears to be methanol toxicity—a much-ignored problem associated with aspartame in particular.
In a previous interview, toxicology expert Dr. Woodrow Monte (author of the book While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills7), explains the links between aspartame and methanol toxicity and the formation of toxic formaldehyde.
Research Overwhelmingly Refutes ‘Diet’ Claims of Artificial Sweeteners
Contrary to industry claims, research over the last 30 years—including several large scale prospective cohort studies—have shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain—often to the researchers’ great surprise.
Below is sampling of some of the studies published through the years, clearly refuting the beverage industry’s claims that diet soda aids weight loss. The 2010 review in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine8 is particularly noteworthy.
It provides a historical summary of artificial sweeteners in general, along with epidemiological and experimental evidence showing that artificial sweeteners tends to promote weight gain. It also illustrates that as usage of artificial sweeteners has risen, so has obesity rates.
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