Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about how artificial sweeteners are no improvement over sugar where your metabolic health is concerned.
In fact, if forced to pick my poison, I would probably choose sugar, since at least it’s natural—something you certainly can’t say about most of the chemical monstrosities we use as substitutes.
Still, the myth persists that artificial sweeteners are somehow better for diabetics and dieters alike, despite a steady stream of science to the contrary. Including the recent research I’d like to share with you today…
The trouble begins in your brain
According to a new study, the artificial sweetener sucralose (better known as Splenda) does no harm on its own. (Though I find that conclusion hard to believe!) But when consumed with common carbohydrates, it wreaks havoc on your metabolic health.
More specifically, it reduces your neurological and metabolic sensitivity to sugar. Which isn’t at all surprising—as it’s something I have been warning you about for years. (Though I had no idea the problem traced all the way back to the central nervous system, which I think we can all agree is particularly concerning.)
Researchers looked at a group of healthy volunteers, none of whom regularly consumed low calorie sweeteners. Over two weeks, the subjects consumed fruit-flavored drinks, sweetened with either table sugar or sucralose.
Some of these subjects also received drinks containing maltodextrin—a carbohydrate additive that food manufacturers use to improve the texture, flavor, and shelf life of packaged foods like pastries and soda.
Researchers performed brain MRIs in order to track brain changes in response to taste. They also measured taste perceptions and tested blood sugar. Interestingly, they found that sucralose and maltodextrin together impaired insulin sensitivity.
MRI results showed that this combo also blunted brain response to sweet tastes—but not to sour, salty, or savory tastes. And get this: Researchers didn’t observe these changes with any of the ingredients, including sugar, by themselves.
Packages foods are fueling our nation’s diabesity crisis
It’s no secret that sugary beverages fuel obesity and diabetes—and even increase your risk of death. (Not that anyone wants to do anything about it… but that’s a rant I’ll save for another day.)
Yet somehow, there’s still a lot of controversy around the effects of artificially sweetened “diet” drinks… despite a mountain of evidence showing that there’s absolutely nothing diet-friendly about them.
And now, this new evidence suggests that the trouble traces all the way back to your central nervous system. Even if that effect only occurs when you pair sucralose with maltodextrin, the amount of processed food that’s packed with this additive makes it an all-too-easy combo to come by for most Americans.
After all, our country’s oversized diabesity problem didn’t appear out of thin air. And while sugar is a major culprit, ultra-processed Frankenfoods—whether they’re labeled as “diet” or not—are just as much to blame. (And according to this study, perhaps even more so.)
Store shelves are lined with packaged food products that contain these artificial sweeteners and additives in spades. And it’s absolutely fueling a boom in metabolic disease—from diabetes to cancer. So what do we do about it?
Well, I’ll tell you what I’d do: Slap a big fat warning label right where shoppers can see it: PACKAGED FOOD KILLS. Because that’s just the cold, hard truth.
In the meantime, I encourage you to follow a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh, whole foods, like my A-List Diet. In other words, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store—or get your groceries from a local farmer’s market instead.
P.S. It’s no lie that our food supply is making us fat. In fact, even consistent exercise is virtually useless against the outrageous amounts of sugar and carbohydrates people consume nowadays. And I tell you all about it—including how to overcome the battle of the bulge—in the November 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“FACT: You can’t outrun obesity”). Not yet a subscriber? Become one today!
“Resolving bitter debate over low-cal sweeteners.” Science Daily, 03/03/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200303113339.htm)