There's been some research lately showing neuronal control of body weight can change (predispose to weight gain, insulin/leptin resistance etc) simply due to sweet taste itself, insulin triggering or not. Anyone who struggles with weight already knows to avoid sugar, but lately lots of studies are also coming out of the woodwork stating that Diet Sodas are strongly associated with diabetes/obesity clinically.
I personally notice weight gain immed if I eat sweetened foods or even drink diet sodas/red bulls. I believe the taste of sweetness is a pivotal player in obesity, and perhaps is an evolutionary environmental signal to fatten up for incoming winter.
What do you guys think? Share your experiences!
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The issue, as I understand it, is that a non caloric sweetener can trigger an insulin response even though your blood glucose has not been raised. (You can get this process started by just thinking about food.) This would lower your BG below baseline, thus increasing appetite.
Even though the research about this is interesting to say the least, I haven't found any solid evidence that the human body can store fat without being in a caloric surplus. Where is the fat coming from at that point? The energy that you're storing (body fat) has to come from somewhere.
I think what's going on here is more correlation than anything else. It makes sense that your average person who regularly eats/drinks sweet food probably eats too much to begin with. Most of the research I've found related to this was based on poorly conducted studies where calorie consumption wasn't measured; merely if the person was obese and/or consumed sweet drinks regularly.
"simply due to sweet taste itself" is where you lose me.
In the past month, I've eaten my way through 2 bags of grapefruit so sweet they were sweeter than oranges I bought earlier. Each day I drooled while cutting them and raved afterward that it was like eating dessert. They actually tasted sweeter to me than some chocolate-covered fruit pieces a friend gave me. They tasted much sweeter than my coffee with cream and honey.
I lost a noticeable amount of fat during that time.
I think it's plausible that sweet-eners might be related to weight gain, but perception of sweet varies between individuals and I don't believe "sweet taste" triggers gain by itself.
With no associated increase in calories or an energy surplus I'm skeptical. I got down to 10% chugging diet soda on the regular. I'm not saying it was healthy, but it certainly didn't keep me fat. Now if you're talking about people who consume diet soda probably not having a great diet and generally being more overweight I might buy it. The insulin response thing doesn't make sense to me though, I'd want to test my blood in a fasted state and then after consuming something sweet to know for sure. I wouldn't really trust anything else.
If you're metabolically fit and go on a high carb bender, your body can deal with it easily. If you turn that one insult into a chronic daily marathon of candy and soda, you'll eventually get to the point where there's no more capacity to dispose of the excess.
First, it mostly gets soaked up by muscle tissue, and you'll burn it off via activity. If you're not very muscular, fat cells will receive the same insulin signal and convert glucose to fat and store it.
As cells fill up to their maximum, they no longer express the GLUT receptor for insulin and thus become resistant. In order to be able to handle the onslaught, your pancreas produces more and more insulin, producing stress on itself to the eventual future point where the beta cells are depleted and begin to die off, going from type 2 diabetes to a form of type 1.
At that point your blood has far more glucose than is safe and no way to dispose of it. So your kidneys sacrifice themselves in an effort to dump glucose in urine, causing kidney damage in the process, and symptoms of thirst. Eyes, nerves, arteries, and other tissue are damaged by glycation leading to complications such as diabetic retinopathy, and even amputations. Fun times!
When people worry just about the taste of something triggering insulin, it's not because they are super healthy, fit, and have a big engine capable of dealing with high blood sugar.
It's because they either want to avoid further insulin reactions when possible, or they are doing intermittent or other forms of fasting and aren't quite ready to give up the taste of sweet, and are wondering if their morning coffee can be sweetened. I find that if you try to use non caloric sweeteners, even stevia, in coffee, the insulin release just from the taste is enough to cause an insulin release, which causes blood sugar to drop. Since they're fasting, their blood sugar is already low, and this causes hypoglycemia, which leads to instant weakness and hunger.
tl;dr: That's the real question here, perhaps not for everyone. So, no, the taste itself won't make you fat, but it will trigger your insulin to a smaller degree, which will cause whatever macros are in your blood to be stored in both fat and muscle (as well as liver).
On the other hand, you could eat a ton of savory rice every day and not experience the taste of sweet, and still get fat due to the carb load and the action of insulin storing it.