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How Sweet It Is: Why Artificial Sweeteners are Unhealthy

Jeremy Hendon | January 16
How Sweet It Is: Why Artificial Sweeteners are Unhealthy

Around here (in the world of Paleo), we recognize that calories matter but also that counting calories is a pretty dismal way to lose weight or live life.

In the rest of the world, though, artificially sweetened drinks are still very popular for just this reason.

There have been many studies on artificial sweeteners, but this recent was very interesting:

Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements

Monika Wisniewska

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Hormones

In this study, the researchers focused on hormonal responses and the ways that artificial sweeteners might disrupt them.

In particular, although hormones like insulin often get a bad rap, they actually play a huge role in regulating how full we feel and how much we want to eat.  Insulin, in fact, makes you less hungry, so long as you’re sensitive to it.

What the researchers found, though, was that artificial sweeteners effectively cause our body to react badly even when we’re eating sugar.

Normally, even just a sweet taste will trigger a hormonal response.  But because artificial sweeteners don’t lead to an increase in blood sugar (among other reasons), drinking beverages that are artificially sweetened can lead your body down a path of not reacting correctly when you do have increased blood sugar.

Another reason to wean yourself off artificial sweeteners, at least in the case of beverages that have no calories.  The limitation of studies like these is that they’re only looking at artificial sweeteners in a non-caloric and non-nutritive context, so if you add a little sweetener to a food that has nutrients, the story is likely different.

Images: Copyright © Becky Stern cc and Monika Wisniewska from Fotolia