Artificial Sweeteners – Should I Use Them?
By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis
With the first drop of liquid love from a mother to a baby, sweet is something we were designed to love and want more of. Taste bud receptors at the end of our tongue are the “sweet zone.” When these receptors have molecules that fit perfectly into that taste receptor – we hit the jackpot.
Artificial sweeteners are similar to sugar molecules and fit well into those receptors also triggering sweet. It just so happens they don’t have any calories attached. Or do they?
Sure, that artificial sweetener may provide virtually zero calories, but would you feel the same way about them if you knew what it did to our insulin response and our craving for carbohydrates?
Is outsmarting Mother Nature in our best interest? Usually when we eat something sweet, it’s wrapped in a ton of calories. When artificial sweeteners are used, it’s totally confusing to your brain. The signal for sweet happened when those taste buds enjoyed the artificial sweetener, but the food didn’t follow.
When we eat artificially sweetened foods, but they don’t come with the calories attached, our brain tries to correct the imbalance by making us hungrier. We eat more food per eating occasion when we consume artificially sweetened foods over sugar sweetened foods.
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase hunger, slow metabolism and increase body fat. All of those points go against why we think we use it. We use it to consume fewer calories, hopefully we consume fewer calories and gain less weight and reduce our body fat.
As consumers, we love sugar and it’s found in almost 75% of all packaged good on a grocery store floor. When we use products made with artificial sweeteners, they may not have additional calories from sugar, but they make us demand ultra-sweet foods in other forms.
Think about how this changes how sweet we need other foods to make them feel “normal” – ever eaten a yogurt made for a pallet in the United States vs a European pallet? Significantly less sugar in the European version.
The food industry creates products we crave and are addicted to because they need to grow their business year after year to show profitability and dominance.
If you think the research from studies show artificial sweeteners are perfectly fine, I challenge you to dig in and see who funded the study. Results are found to be far more favorable for whomever funded the study.
Food is complicated in our western culture. We eat too much heavily processed junk food and not enough of the foods that will slow or reverse the health conditions caused by eating all the junk.
None of us want increased hunger, slowed metabolism and increased body fat!
Reducing how much sweet appears in our lives can have a dramatic impact on our health.
Maybe it’s time to take a look at the artificial sweeteners we add to our foods and take a month or two challenge to eliminate them and see how your body responds.