Sweeteners Provoke Appetite

And Keep You Eating

Sweeteners Provoke Appetite. Healthy Living Magazine

Sweeteners Provoke Appetite. Healthy Living Magazine

You can’t lose weight using sugar substitutes.

That’s the message of an article in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism for every dieter who has switched from sugarsweetened foods and beverages to artificial sweeteners thinking they’re going to actually lose pounds that way. “Accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” says Susan Swithers, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Read: Sweet Weight Loss

signal appetite hormones

The scientists hypothesized that consuming sweet tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie foods and beverages actually “interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy” satiation.

The human body is so accustomed to real sweeteners, as bad as they are made out to be, that without real sugar to affect insulin levels, indicate satiety and signal the body’s appetite hormones, people just keep on eating. “Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements.”

not sweet truth

Large scale population studies correlate artificial sweetener use and weight gain. The San Antonio Heart Study involved 3,682 adults over a period of seven to eight years throughout the 1980s. People who drank beverages with artificial sweeteners had higher increases in their body mass. American Cancer Society researchers analyzed results from 78,694 women. After one year, up to 7.1% more artificial sweetener consumers gained weight than nonusers. Studying 31,940 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, conducted in the 1970s, researchers linked saccharin with weight gain over eight years.

Read: Sugar Roller Coaster

metabolic derangement

Sugar substitutes might cause or aggravate metabolic disorders by altering human bacteria, says an Israeli researcher in Nature. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, fed mice sweeteners and found the artificial ones caused harmful bacterial to multiply in the intestines and damage insulin sensitivity. But when the animals were given antibiotics to kill their gut bacteria, glucose intolerance was prevented. He found the altered bacterial states also occurred in healthy people recruited to the study. “It’s counterintuitive—no one expected it because it never occurred to them to look,” Martin Blaser, a microbiologist at New York University, says.

what to do

Does it mean we should return to the deadly brace of old sugar? Not so hastily. The better alternatives include xylitol and stevia. Xylitol, derived from the birch tree, is a five-carbon sugar with a very low glycemic index (GI), meaning it is metabolized slowly; this is unlike artificial sugars that have no glycemic index because they are not metabolized and pure glucose with a 100 GI rating. (Xylitol has a GI rating of 12.)

Read: Sugar-Free Gums

Xylitol has such a slow sugar release that it is recommended to diabetics as a sugar substitute. Clinical studies of children and nursing mothers’ offspring show chewing xylitol gum or other xylitol-based products cuts down on dental caries. Because xylitol is a five carbon sugar, the cavity-causing bacteria of the mouth eat it but cannot digest it and they end up starving and their populations go down. We also know that xylitol doesn’t have a negative effect on good bacteria. And we do have genetic evidence that xylitol inhibits metabolic syndrome.

Read: Sugar That Starves Bacteria

In the July 2011 issue of Journal of Clinical and Biochemistry Nutrition, researchers investigated the effects of dietary xylitol on lipid metabolism and visceral fat accumulation in rats fed a high-fat diet. SpragueDawley rats used in experiments were fed a high-fat diet containing 0 g (control), 1.0 g/100 kcal (X1) or 2.0 g/100 kcal (X2) of xylitol. After the eight-week feeding period, visceral fat mass and plasma insulin and lipid concentrations were significantly lower in xylitol-fed rats than those in high-fat diet rats. Gene expression levels of carbohydrate response element binding protein and fatty acid oxidation-related genes were significantly higher in the xylitol-fed rats. “In conclusion, intake of xylitol may be beneficial in preventing the development of obesity and metabolic abnormalities in rats with diet-induced obesity.”

Dr R. Bilton of the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK, proclaims both stevia and xylitol as “healthy sugar replacements.”

Xylitol can be substituted for almost all sugar products. Probably the best way to find out if xylitol is the right sugar substitute is to start cooking with it, using it in the diet and keeping up with the research. So far it looks as if the use of xylitol as a sugar substitute will actually lead to weight control.

Read: 5 Body Shapers

ReferencesAmo K, Arai H, Uebanso T, Fukaya M, Koganei M, Sasaki H, Yamamoto H, Taketani Y, Takeda E. Effects of xylitol on metabolic parameters and visceral fat accumulation. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2011 Jul;49(1):1-7. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.10-111. E-pub 2011 Jun 17. Bilton R. Averting comfortable lifestyle crises. Sci Prog. 2013;96(Pt 4):319-368. Colditz GA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, London SJ, Segal MR, Speizer FE. Patterns of weight change and their relation to diet in a cohort of healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;51:1100–1105.Curi R, et al. Effect of Stevia rebaudonia on glucose tolerance in normal human adults.” Braz J Med Biol Res, 1986;19(6):771-774. Fowler SP, Williams K, Resendez RG, Hunt KJ, Hazuda HP, Stern MP. Fueling the obesity epidemic? Artificially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain. Obesity 2008;16:1894–1900. Polyák E, Gombos K, Hajnal B, Bonyár-Müller K, Szabó S, Gubicskó-Kisbenedek A, Marton K, Ember I. Effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight, food and drink intake. Acta Physiol Hung. 2010 Dec;97(4):401-407. doi: 10.1556/APhysiol.97.2010.4.9. Stellman SD, Garfinkel L. Artificial sweetener use and one-year weight change among women. Prev Med. 1986;15:195–202. Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep;24(9):431-441. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.05.005. E-pub 2013 Jul 10.
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