Contrary to popular belief, replacing sugary snacks with those sweetened artificially do not help with weight loss. According to a recent study, artificial sweeteners are not helpful for losing weight because your body cannot really tell the difference.
The researcher identified specific cells which detect sugar, releasing hormones essential for its passage through the lining of the stomach and into the blood, where it is either burned off or is converted into fat.
When confronted by artificial sweeteners these cells release the same hormones, and consequently the body prepares to absorb real sugar. If you’re dieting, you may not lose any weight, and very well may gain additional pounds over time.
From the U.K. Daily Mail:
Professor Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool, found that a sweet taste receptor, present in the taste cells of the gut, allows humans and animals to detect glucose within the intestine.
Artificial sweeteners behave in a similar way to sugar however, and activate the sensors in the gut key to glucose absorption.
The receptor also detects artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks, resulting in increased intestinal intake of
dietary sugars. This could explain why artificial sweeteners are unsuccessful at helping people lose weight, and
sometimes result in weight gain.
Professor Shirazi-Beechey said: “If someone wants to lose weight, I don’t think artificial sweeteners are going to
help. “My recommendation is to eat natural foods, but to eat less of them.”
Prof Shirazi-Beechey said: “Artificial sweeteners can also activate the glucose sensor and increase the capacity of the intestine to absorb more sugar. “You drink diet cola to stay slim but the reverse is true, because the artificial sweeteners can activate the sensor, so you are taking more glucose from your diet.”
Prof Shirazi-Beechey’s research can be seen at an exhibition at the Food Museum in Switzerland. The exhibition,
called Research Food – a Dialogue, looks at food history, science and technologies.
I recommend eliminating artificial sweeteners (and other highly processed products and foods) from your diet entirely, and if you must indulge in something sweet, try Stevia, Xylitol or Lo Han. They are better natural solutions all the way around, in more ways than one!
Thanks for reading – see you after the Holiday weekend!
Andre Berger, M.D.