Artificial Sweeteners, Friend or Foe

Artificial sweeteners have been on the market for decades now. They go into some “no sugar” and “diet” foods. Real sugar has been getting a bad wrap recently, making these look like a viable alternative — but are they our friend or our foe?

I’m aware that in general, we as a society, consume a fair bit of sugar.  When it comes to the “no sugar” or “diet” foods, I have never really subscribed to the idea that a food worth eating (for enjoyment, yes enjoyment counts! or nutrition), is made better by putting some chemical sweetener in it. Personally, I think it’s one thing to eat the occasional high sugar item (I’m weak when it comes to chocolate!!!!), but why would I want to eat some fake substitute. I have never found them to be as satisfying as the real sugar equivalent and because of that, I have gone and grabbed the real thing in the end anyway. So I’ve consumed more than I would have if I just had the real thing. Plus, to me, they taste fake and a bit, what I imagine, plastic tastes like.

That is just my take on it though. Artificial sweeteners are big business, so there must be a lot of people using them, trying to do the right thing. Recent research suggests they may be making weight control harder for themselves…

Artificial Sweeteners

New Research

Now there is some research being done in to these artificial sweeteners and it’s not looking good! A recent article by the Australian Fitness Network, says that, University of Sydney and the Garvin Institute of Medical Research, are studying the effects of artificial sweeteners on total calories consumed.

They found that, after mice consumed foods laced with artificial sweeteners for a prolonged period (more than 5 days), they would consume more calories over all, once they went back to eating foods with natural sugar.
The researchers believe the brain adjusts how it responds to foods. After eating the food with artificial sweeteners, it says that they need to eat more. And so they do. It is similar to the starving response in the brain. I’m certain this is not the outcome people are wanting when they use these sweeteners!

This research should be required, BEFORE products like this hit the market. But in the absence of that, for me, it re-enforces that I should be a little skeptical and wary of new wonder fixes. Maybe getting back to nature and this whole foods movement is just easier in the long run.

Does whole foods mean organic though???? I find it hard to find organic, reasonably priced produce in the quantities I need for my family at my local stores. But that’s for another blog post…

Source: Australian Fitness Network