For regular readers of Rantings, it should come as no surprise that I am vehemently opposed to all forms of artificial sweeteners. Period. No exceptions. The evidence is clearly not in support of the use of artificial sweeteners. Many have tried to argue that “it’s just a little.” That argument falls flat on its face.
It all starts with our taste buds. The taste buds in our mouth can obviously sense the artificial sweeteners, otherwise, why the heck are they in there? I think we can all agree on this fact. So, regardless of how “little” there is in the product, there is enough for our taste buds in our mouth to sense it and respond. Agreed? Good.
Unbeknownst to many, we have the same setup of taste buds lower in our small intestine. When these taste buds sense sweet, they respond by releasing a very potent hormone called GLP-1. GLP-1 then goes on to do many anti-diabetic “stuff” in the body. It’s a very nice relationship. We eat sweet stuff (on occasion) and the taste buds in our small intestine trigger the body to respond.
But what happens when the sweet taste is triggered but there is nothing for the body to actually do? Sort of a “where’s the beef” scenario. The body is all prepped to handle the calories coming in, but there are none because the artificial sweeteners are non-caloric. It is my belief that this disconnection between the perception of taste and our body’s response to the anticipation of “sweet” is the most dangerous aspect of artificial sweeteners. With continued use, our taste and our metabolism suffer a disconnect, leading to the development of obesity and diabetes–exactly what society thinks they are avoiding by using artificial sweeteners.
You can see from this logic that the fact that there is “just a little” has no bearing whatsoever. If it is enough to taste, it is enough for the body to respond to.
Of course, there is the ages-old concern that aspartame (and I’m sure we’ll see similar concerns with the new Neotame) increases the risk of brain tumors (true), but this is likely not a common occurrence. Far more frightening is how differently our bodies respond to artificial sweeteners. This can include:
- Alteration of the bacterial flora in the gut from Splenda / sucralose
- Activation of different regions of the brain than ordinary table sugar
So, while society generally thinks that, because it is “calorie free” that artificial sweeteners in pretty much everything we ingest (sodas, gums, energy drinks, candy) will help us to lose weight and / or keep it off. This is just not true at all. This particular study again confirms previous research that suggests that ingestion of diet sodas lead to worse markers for heart disease, NOT an improvement over the course of 20 years.
So, I have to ask, why the HECK are you still ingesting ANY amount of artificial sweeteners. Worse yet, why are you allowing and worse, condoning, intake of artificial sweeteners in your children…?