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Sweetener Question (e.g., Elevator Pitch)

by (493)
Updated October 24, 2014 at 3:05 AM
Created June 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Hey guys, quick question.

I am of the belief, as nearly all of you are, that sweeteners are not healthy. Insulin secretion, and a lot of chemistry I look forward to understanding but currently don't.

Anyway, I was telling someone (not obnoxiously, they asked first) about diet sodas being unhealthy due to artificial sweeteners which can have the same effect as sugar. Anyway, the person asked me, "Well why do people drinking diet soda gain less, or lose more, weight?"

This seems like a fairly accurate assessment of what does happen in my limited anecdotal experience. Am I confusing correlation with causation? Are sweeteners not necessarily weight-increasing? Any answers you have would be real helpful.

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477 · June 25, 2010 at 4:01 PM

They 1st started using asparteme in diet soda in 1985. Imagine how healthy I'd be if I hadn't consumed all those exitotoxins for the last 25 years! ;)

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477 · June 25, 2010 at 3:57 PM

No sweetener at all would be "swwweeeettt!" I'm tryin'.

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4553 · June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I recall Dr. Bernstein in an interview (Jimmy Moore at Livin la Vida Low Carb) stating he pretty much drinks only diet sodas. No significant water as a drink. Seems a bit extreme (as does 16oz or more a day for years on end), but Dr Bernstein and Mike Opteris seem to have the response in blood glucose and insulin investigated, so whatever works for you, it is certainly best to have self experimented! I'm glad to be rid of all sweeteners (artificial, or natural)! I

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851 · June 25, 2010 at 1:02 AM

any studies in humans?

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6157 · June 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Google is your friend: rat studies -- http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0735-7044.122.1.161 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2887500 What I find interesting is that in the second study, they used a catheter to inject the sweetener directly into the rats, so the sweet taste may not be what triggers the insulin response, as commonly thought.

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477 · June 25, 2010 at 10:43 AM

I am an insulin dependent diabetic that follows Dr. Bernstein and PaNu/PB philosophies of eating and WOL. I used to drink 2 liters+ of diet soda a day. Six months ago, I just got tired of it and now drink about 16 oz or less of diet soda per day. So, I've reduced my diet soda intake by approx 75%. For what it's worth, I did not notice any significant change in insulin usage or blood sugar levels from previous months/years when I drank a lot of diet soda compared to recent figures. Furthermore, prior to finding this WOL and following it 15 months ago, my diet soda consumption did not effect my body weight at all. That is based upon 30+ years of drinking diet soda as my primary beverage. Only reducing carb intake dramatically and eating real food for all meals caused me to lose weight and effect BG levels/insulin requirements. I have been drinking diet soda since TAB, Wink, and Fresca came out in the sixties (yeah, saccarhine and cyclamates, long before asparteme and sucralose) and haven't noted any changes positive or negative, that I can attribute solely to diet soda. Oh, and all cancer screenings have been negative too. That's my two cents, YMMV, Mike

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e
4553 · June 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I recall Dr. Bernstein in an interview (Jimmy Moore at Livin la Vida Low Carb) stating he pretty much drinks only diet sodas. No significant water as a drink. Seems a bit extreme (as does 16oz or more a day for years on end), but Dr Bernstein and Mike Opteris seem to have the response in blood glucose and insulin investigated, so whatever works for you, it is certainly best to have self experimented! I'm glad to be rid of all sweeteners (artificial, or natural)! I

23814fb403606c0424bf90770dd5c0f5
477 · June 25, 2010 at 3:57 PM

No sweetener at all would be "swwweeeettt!" I'm tryin'.

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822 · July 14, 2010 at 10:31 AM

I agree with Domer88 that there is not much evidence for direct harm from sweetener use, except maybe aspartame.

But I do notice a definite tendency to overconsume sweetened foods. Plain heavy cream is nice, but you can't drink too much before satiety kicks in. Add some sweetener, though, and suddenly it tastes like ice cream. I can drink half a liter of sweetened cream and still feel vaguely unsatisfied.

Same with chocolate: 90% or some unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with coconut oil is a nice treat but add some more sweetener and suddenly it's easy to eat waaaaay too much.

So even though artificial sweeteners probably aren't a big deal metabolically I think it's still a good idea to limit use (especially in fatty foods) because of their behavioral effects. They mess with the perception of satiety bigtime, at least in my experience.

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1485 · July 07, 2010 at 3:39 PM

No scientific data to add to the discussion here, but I personnally find that the benefits of diet soda outweigh the risks. I looked into them about a year ago, to see what the risks appeared to be. The hard evidence of a real insulin response or a cancer risk at reasonable consumption levels is scant. The benefit I derive from being able to sweeten my coffee, and have a diet coke from time to time, is something I value quite highly. It's intangible, and it's something we each have to evaluate individually.

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2004 · June 25, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Almost all diet sodas are sweetened with aspartame, which is an exitotoxin that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Apart from insulin response, that's reason enough to limit intake.

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477 · June 25, 2010 at 4:01 PM

They 1st started using asparteme in diet soda in 1985. Imagine how healthy I'd be if I hadn't consumed all those exitotoxins for the last 25 years! ;)

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851 · June 24, 2010 at 2:16 PM

is there actual science showing a similar effect on insulin with artificial sweeteners as compared to sugar? I would love to see a study if someone can post one

B4aa2df25a6bf17d22556667ff896170
851 · June 25, 2010 at 1:02 AM

any studies in humans?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
6157 · June 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Google is your friend: rat studies -- http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0735-7044.122.1.161 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2887500 What I find interesting is that in the second study, they used a catheter to inject the sweetener directly into the rats, so the sweet taste may not be what triggers the insulin response, as commonly thought.

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60 · June 24, 2010 at 2:12 PM

This seems to be one of those areas where there are a bunch of factors because it's not like anyone's diet is solely based on soda, diet or otherwise. Anecdotally, I've heard that people who drink a lot of diet soda lose weight when they stop drinking it. However, I've also noticed that many people who love the idea of diet soda drink lots and lots of it. I once had a boss who was obese and drank at least 4 cans of diet coke a day. I would think that that much of anything, especially diet soda, would screw up insulin levels.

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15976 · June 24, 2010 at 1:46 PM

I think for most people on the SAD out there that they would indeed consume fewer calories throughout the day with noncaloric diet sodas. They might lose little bits of weight, yes. Theoretically i think it is correct. However, i dont think it would actually work as as weight loss strategy for those people because if theyre on the SAD then their hormones are effed up. They're still consuming too many carbohydrates throughout the day/week/whatever and so they're just continually telling their insulin to store, store, store! With the dietsoda-consumption those people may indeed be taking in less carbohydrate than those who are drinking the sugared stuff, but i still think mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, etc is going to be effin up their insulin levels.

Also, i do indeed believe that the pavlov's dog-kinda thing occurs with the noncaloric sweeteners - as far as some kind of insulin-response.

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1932 · June 24, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Seems like to me that the information I have read (referencing "studies," for what they're worth) indicates that people drinking diet sodas do NOT result in losing more or gaining less weight. It's a moot issue for me, since I haven't had a soda of any sort in the past five years and don't care to go there, but I believe that the purported advantages of diet drinks do not exist (if you believe the reports of the 'studies').

Now here's the deal: if you are on the calories-in vs calories out side, you will know that diet sodas contain fewer calories, and believe that this will aid in weight loss (or less gain). If, however, you think the insulin theory is correct, then it will be your opinion that the 'taste of sweet' will cause an insulin release, which will lead to storage of fat from whatEVER calories are available for storage at the time.

I'd be interested to hear others' opinions.

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