Boy you are so sweet, you’re gonna make me a diabetic

“Boy you are so sweet, you’re gonna make me a diabetic”

 Just like you subconsciously know when a man is feeding you insincere lines your body know when you are trying to curb that sweet tooth with some fake sugar!

I have always tried to get around dieting by eating “lean cuisines” and drinking “diet” coke in order to satisfy my sweet tooth and pizza cravings all the while losing weight. This has never worked (not saying that anything else ever has) But there is science behind why fake sweeteners might have been sabotaging the weight loss all along. Dr. Qing Yang from Yale wrote this review on why artificial sweeteners make you gain weight.

Saccharine was the first of the fake sugars that was discovered by Constantine Fahlberg at Johns Hopkins in 1879 by accident and only diabetics would consume it for years. Cyclamate was nextbut in 1969 FDA banned it because of its carcinogenic effects followed with the ban of saccharine in 1977 (Government lifted ban- but kept warning lable.) In 1965, James Schlatter discovered aspartame. Neotame (2000) is the most potent sweetener 7,000 times sweeter than sucrose. Apparently in the last 10 years was when processed foods started using artificial sweeteners.6,000 new products were launched between 1999 and 2004 containing non-caloric sweeteners.  

The question is do they help with weight loss? Sugar provides rapidly absorbable carbs leading to excessive energy and therefore weight gain.  Sugar and high fructose corn syrup sweeteners can be linked to obesity for sure while artificial sweeteners are thought to be healthy. Data suggests otherwise. Several studies have found a positive correlation between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

“The San Antonio Heart Study examined 3,682 adults over a 7-8 year period. When matched for initial body mass index (BMI), gender, ethnicity, and diet, drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs at the follow-up. Average BMI gain was +1.01 kg/m2 for control and 1.78 kg/m2 for people that consumed the most artificially sweetened beverages.

“The American Cancer Society study conducted in early 1980s included 78,694 women who were highly homogenous with regard to age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and lack of preexisting conditions. At one-year follow-up, 2.7% to 7.1% more artificial sweetener users gained weight compared to non-users matched by initial weight. The difference in the amount gained between the two groups was less than two pounds, albeit statistically significant. Saccharin use was also associated with eight-year weight gain in 31,940 women from the Nurses’ Health Study conducted in the 1970s.”

Other studies have shown this to be true in children. Still others have shown that there is not a decrease in body weight when regular soda drinkers replace there beverage with the diet counterpart

The culprit seems to be our tongues because only when we taste the fake sugar does it increase the appetite but not with a fake sugar pill.

“In another study, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin were all associated with heightened motivation to eat. Aspartame had the most pronounced effect, possibly because it does not have a bitter aftertaste. Unlike glucose or sucrose, which decreased the energy intake at the test meal, artificial sweetener preloads either had no effect or increased subsequent energy intake. Those findings suggest that the calorie contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant.”

The same happened with mice- if they had a diet coke before a meal they would calorie load and get fat!
Do our brains predict how many calories we are getting based on the taste of our foods and if they don’t match it tries to compensate to balance?

The paper also points out the behavior in mice that is similar to humans of binging after a period of starvation. The receptors on our tongue travel to the thalamus and other parts releasing dopamine just like drugs do and that is before digestion. The post digestive rewards come from the stomach and blood stream but don’t have the pathway activated in the same way when fake sugar is consumed.
The body misses the post-digestive part and seeks more food.

“Lastly, artificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence… A strong correlation exists between a person’s customary intake of a flavor and his preferred intensity for that flavor. Systematic reduction of dietary salt or fat without any flavorful substitution over the course of several weeks led to a preference for lower levels of those nutrients. In light of these findings, a similar approach might be used to reduce sugar intake. Unsweetening the world’s diet may be the key to reversing the obesity epidemic

I thought I would share this in case you are a struggling dieter like me and try to control your weight by substituting sugar and trying to eat less. There are smarter ways to diet. All of them are difficult but at least you aren’t messing with neuron receptors and homeostasis which can be impossible to overcome.

(all of the information and quotes came from: YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE 83 (2010), pp. 101-108. Copyright © 2010. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings Neuroscience 2010 Qing Yang Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University,New Haven, Connecticut)

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