A 16-ounce (500 mL) bottle of regular soda has about 200 calories. A bottle of diet soda has none. It’s totally logical. Replacing real sugar in foods with a sugar substitute that gives your tongue a hit of sweet, without adding calories, is a sure way to lose weight. You’ll save calories galore and enjoy sweet treats, without the ill effects of consuming actual sugar.
The real truth is becoming clear. And it serves to reinforce the knowledge that artificial foods are never as healthy as real, whole foods that your grandmother would recognize.
Artificial sweeteners, like aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet N’Low) and sucralose (Splenda) are found in thousands of kinds of processed “diet” foods, including soda and other soft drinks, candy, spreads for bread, cereals, cookies and more. These substances are wholly manufactured combinations of chemicals that have zero calories. In addition, they are often much sweeter than regular sugar. The sucralose in Splenda, for example, is up to 600 times sweeter than table sugar.
Another category of mostly laboratory-manufactured sweeteners are sugar alcohols. When you read processed food labels on “dietetic” chocolate, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts, sugar-free candies, even mouthwash and toothpaste, you’ll see words like erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol and sorbitol. These are all chemical names for sugar alcohols. These substances contain some calories and are about as sweet as table sugar.
What’s the problem with artificial sweeteners then? Here are three eye-opening facts.
#1 There is zero scientific evidence that use of artificial sweeteners actually promotes weight loss. Zero.
#2 Artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry. Artificial sweeteners fool the body into thinking we’re eating something sweet. So when you’ve had 16 ounces of diet soda, based on the sweet taste your tongue is registering, your body gets prepared to process sugar. But since there is no actual sugar to process, it gets confused, throwing your body chemistry out of whack. Your body releases insulin, but there’s no sugar to process, so the ultimate result is that, in the presence of excess insulin, the body goes into fat storage mode. In a nutshell, artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain.
#3 Many artificial sweeteners, since they aren’t real food, can’t be digested. Instead, they are stored in the body’s fat tissue as toxins.
In addition to all this, too much artificial sweetener can have an uncomfortable laxative effect. Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to eat a whole package of “diet” anything.
So the best advice is to take yourself off of artificial sweeteners as much as possible. Besides breaking free from the chemical cascade you introduce in your body whenever you ingest the fake stuff, you’ll also regain your tongue’s true appreciation for naturally sweet foods like fruit.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at email@example.com. Like the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon page on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest for healthy eating tips, inspiring quotes, videos and photos and more.