Not so SWEET sweeteners

Walk down the drink aisle at any grocery store and you will notice basically two types of items, Drinks and Diet Drinks. Let’s face it in todays society there is a growing concern of becoming over weight and trying to watch your weight. Every corner you turn there is an advertisement for some sort of new diet pill, drug, book or drink. With the thousands of new diet products hitting the market I have little confidence that it is doing anything. It’s easy to see this proof year after year as more diet products come out and the amount of overweight people keeps going up; there is no end in sight. This brings me to my initial point I want to discuss on artificial sweeteners. Diet coke is the second highest selling drink in America, and its sweetener is aspartame. The two biggest artificial sweeteners used in manufacturing today are Aspartame (200 times sweeter than table sugar) and Sucralose (600 times sweeter than table sugar) both products can not be broken down by our bodies so they do not yield any calories.

You are what you eat!

If you eat protein rich foods it will allow your body to grow, heal and repair. If you eat Carbohydrate rich foods it will give you energy for just about any activity you encounter. Eating Fats provide energy for low intensity activities and basal metabolic systems as well as many vital bodily systems such as blood pressure regulation. Eating or drinking foods with artificial sweeteners will give no benefit. So why eat or drink foods with artificial sweeteners? We do this in hope to curve that craving for foods that we have. So we can consume as much as we want and not gain a pound. (I made that last statement laughing). In fact consuming diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners trick our bodies into eating more food.  There are a number of reasons why; one of them is that by consuming an artificial sweetener you trick your body into thinking you have had something with sugar. When you have eaten or drink something with real sugar (that your body thought you had) you body is expecting that sweetness to pass into your blood and give a calorie and insulin boost. However because you have consumed a non nutritive sweetener your blood stream does not receive that boost of calories and your body desires more calories throughout the day. This is a negative feedback loop. There are several more reasons why artificial sweeteners do not prevent weight gain and instead promote weight gain but in the interest of time I cannot go into it.

What can I do?

Read food labels; this past weekend I picked up a can of sparkling water or fizzy water I like to call it. I took a drink and I noticed that this was the sweetest water I have ever tasted. I did not read the label and the drink contained Sucralose along with 25 other chemicals that were not H2O. I didn’t die but I also did not finish that drink. Be careful when you pick up products; read the label and pay attention to the ingredients. Don’t drink or eat foods that do not give any nutritional value. I stand by my word that “There is no need to consume foods or drinks that don’t provide any benefit” Do this and you body will thank you.  If you desire something sweet, eat something sweet but don’t over consume.

Steve Acuna