This question has come up a lot on my social media feed lately,
are artificial sweeteners good for you?
I can make this short and simple – no they are not necessarily good for you.
Which is probably what most people believe and want to hear.
There is a big but here though…
Just because they are not good for you does not mean that they are bad for you either.
It’s a really important statement to make, so I will repeat it.
Artificial sweeteners are not bad for you,
Nor will they make you fat, give you cancer or anything sinister like that.
Well, at least not according to the weight of the scientific literature available to us today.
But I bet I know what you might be thinking,
It’s just not natural so how can it not be bad for you? Well, not everything in nature is good for you.
Take arsenic for example or formaldehyde. Two naturally occurring compounds present in some fruit, but have a little too much of those isolated compounds and you won’t live the tale to talk about it.
In fact, if there is an artificial ingredient in your food it has to go through more stringent testing to be proven safe. Even if a possible risk it's found it will be so unlikely that any human being would be able to consume enough of it to ever cause any health problems.
Does this mean we should all run to the store to stock up on diet coke? Well no, not if you don’t enjoy diet coke or find it doesn’t help you stick to your diet.
If you are a bit of a nerd like me and enjoy reading through the odd study and not some journalistic sensationalism designed to promote web-traffic, you would see the evidence that artificial sweeteners are a risk to one’s health, just simply isn’t there.
But what about weight gain?
A lot of people wrongly believe diet coke and other non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) cause insulin to be released, which in turn cause one to store body fat.
Now first things first, the insulin hypothesis is totally false but we can get to that another time.
Insulin is a transporter hormone – meaning it transports proteins and carbohydrates to where they need to go. If there are no calories in the food or drink we consume, there is no need for this hormone to be released as there is nothing to transport.
Many people believe the sweeteners trick the brain to release insulin but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If it did you would go into a diabetic coma!
Now I did mention at the beginning that NNS are not good for you but this does not mean that they don’t have their uses.
In fact, they could aid someone in a successful weight-loss program.
A recent study showed that when they compared obese people who drank water to ones that drank diet coke, the diet coke group lost more weight.
How did this work?
Well the group that drank diet coke had their sweet tooth satiated and did not reach out for extra food – so they ate lower calories.
Anything that safely causes one to eat less can be a valuable tool for weight loss
Bye bye insulin fairy.
Things like diet coke and artificial sweeteners have a largely neutral effect on the body,
They are not good, not bad but can have very practical uses in weight loss and obesity management.
Any questions, thoughts or opposing views please give me a shout: J