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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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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.