Sugar is the archenemy of anyone who’s trying to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle. It’s gotten a bad wrap over the years and for good reason – it packs on unhealthy fat and can damage your pancreas. Not to mention it activates pro-inflammatory reactions in the body.
The substance is even known to cause diabetes, which already affects 208,000 people 20 and younger.
So it’s no wonder the diabetes epidemic is on the rise. But it’s not just sugar that’s the issue – it’s artificial sweeteners as well. Some still believe it is healthier to use artificial sweeteners for losing weight, yet they’ve been found to cause weight gain and contribute to gut issues, damage to cells and DNA.
This is why it’s so important to exclude artificial sweeteners from your sugar free diet plan. If you truly want to live a healthier life, then you have to eliminate toxic ingredients. Eating clean and minimizing processed foods including these artificial sweeteners is a key component of my weight loss program. When your body burns fat it releases toxins stored in fat, so your body needs to be able to detoxify those toxins and eliminate them. The more you reduce the toxic load on your body the better you will feel and the more effective your weight loss progress will be.
If you’re not convinced aspartame and other artificial sweeteners used in drinks and treats are harmful, then continue reading.
First, What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
This is very important to know, especially if you’re trying to avoid them. They come in different shapes, sizes and names. This makes it even trickier to steer clear of them, especially since they can be found in just about everything.
Some of the most common (and most dangerous) artificial sweeteners include:
- Aspartame (aka NutraSweet and Equal)
- Sucrose (aka table sugar)
- Acesulfame potassium (aka Sweet One and Sunett)
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Stevia (aka Truvia and Pure Via)
- Saccharin (aka Sweet’N Low)
- Sucralose (aka Splenda)
- Sugar alcohols (aka xylitol, Sorbitol and mannitol)
Now, let’s get into why you should keep artificial sweeteners out of your sugar free diet plan.
They Ruin Your Taste Buds
All of the artificial sweeteners on the market are much, much sweeter than regular sugar. In fact, aspartame, which is commonly used in diet sodas, is 200 times sweeter.
Stevia is between 200 and 300 times sweeter, which is interesting because it derives from an herb. Then Sucralose, which we’ve learned is used by Splenda, is 600 times sweeter.
But what tops the charts is neotame, a common replacement for aspartame, which is a whopping 7,000 times sweeter than table sugar.
Consistently eating artificial sweeteners over time can dull your taste buds, making them less receptive to natural sugars from sources like fruit. In other words, you’ll find these healthy options boring and will continue looking for sweeter, unhealthy options.
I remember a client who did not like fruit because her taste buds were so desensitized by sweeteners. After a few weeks of no sugar and no artificial sweeteners she began to enjoy fruit because she could taste the natural sweetness.
They Ruin Your Gut
When you’re eating and drinking “diet” foods and drinks made with artificial sweeteners, it can lead to stomach issues. Consuming fake sugars can confuse your stomach, making it believe it’s consuming a high-calorie substance.
The confusion comes from the 0 calorie drink or food, which contains a very sweet substance. This sweetness sends a signal to your gut, letting it know something high-calorie is coming.
But then it never comes, which can interfere with your stomach’s ability to send hunger signals at the proper times. Maybe this is why so many people in America are overeating?
Not to mention the damage they do to the gut bacteria. We need healthy gut bacteria for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Poor gut health is also a key contributor to inflammation in the body.
Yes, They’re Making You Overeat
So it’s not just the artificial sweetener itself that’s causing you to gain weight. As we’ve already learned, they mess with your body’s hunger signals, which can lead to you eating too much.
It’s the taste and feel of the food that confuses your body. The sugar and density tell your brain there are high calories. Foods with artificial sweeteners tend to have a thinner density.
Since these thinner foods aren’t considered satisfying, your brain tells you you’re still hungry. So you continue to eat more and more, even though you’ve had enough.
This is particularly more of an issue for people who carry the genomic profile where they have dysregulated hunger cues controlled by the MC4R gene or dysregulated pleasure response from food due to the DRD2 gene.
I see this pattern often when I do the DNA testing on clients which helps them understand why they have a harder time with snacking or binge-eating. Once we know the genetics driving these behaviors then we can develop strategies to help them manage these behaviors more effectively.
They Ruin Your Hormones
As you may know, sugar interrupts the hormone known as insulin, which leads us down to the path to diabetes. The issue with artificial sugars is that the sweetness, even when it’s 0 calories, tells our body that insulin is needed.
So your body still recognizes artificial sweeteners as sugar. This, in turn, spikes your blood sugar levels, which can increase your cravings. And at the same time, it can stop your body from creating another hormone called GLP-1.
This is responsible for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and produces feelings of satiety. When both hormones are disrupted, it can cause you to be hungrier all the time.
In my weight loss program I am using an approach to get the person’s body into ketosis using intermittent fasting. In order for this to be effective and healthy we need to keep insulin very low hence why using sugar-free sweeteners is a huge obstacle to the body being able to burn fat and stay in ketosis.
They Turn You Into A Pre-Diabetic
Your chances of becoming diabetic are still increased when you’re consuming artificial sweeteners. So those who drink a lot of diet sodas are at special risk of type 2 diabetes.
This could either be due to these folks eating unhealthy diets with the diet drinks. Or it’s related to the biological makeup of the artificial sugars.
It was found that diet soda drinkers tend to be 65% more overweight than those who didn’t drink soda. And were also more obese than those who drank regular soda.
They Pollute Our Water
Artificial sweeteners are designed to survive the harsh conditions inside your body. This means it doesn’t easily break down, so it instead packs on calories. Not even oxygen, light and microbes can break down artificial sugars.
When sucralose and acesulfame K samples were taken from wastewater, it showed the sweeteners didn’t degrade at all. Even when it was sitting in the water for seven hours. The same test was done four years later and had the same results.
Genetically modified organisms are on the minds of many Americans today. More and more studies show the potential dangers it poses to our health. So many of us are changing our eating habits to avoid them.
If this is your mission, then you need to watch out for artificial sweeteners, which are genetically modified. They’re an unnatural substance, such as soy, corn and sugar beets, which are used to create these artificial sweeteners.
Get Expert Help to Create an Effective Sugar Free Diet Plan
Eating a sugar free diet may seem difficult especially when you have to knock artificial sweeteners off the list.
But this doesn’t make eating a sugar free diet impossible.
In fact, within a short period of time it becomes very easy and enjoyable. I often have found with clients that when they do eat something with artificial sweeteners after being off them for just a few weeks, they find it much too sweet and do not enjoy the flavour.
They also find they feel so much better and they have an increased level of energy that is sustainable throughout the day. No more afternoon lull.
I have seen thousands of people eliminate these things from their diet even when they thought it would be impossible so you can do it too. The key is to get the right plan so you feel satisfied and work with a health professional that’s well-versed in nutritional health and the sugar free diet to help you make this transition successfully. Once you do this you will feel so much better and your body fat will just melt away.
If you want to learn more about how I have helped all my clients make this transition off of sugar and artificial sweeteners and designed a plan to support their body and their mindset then book a 15 minutes assessment call with me so I can learn more about you and determine what you need.