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Dr. Mercola,, December 04, 2012

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners Are Anything But Good News

If you are opting for low-cal "diet" foods in an effort to lose weight or control your diabetes, you may be surprised to learn that research has repeatedly shown that artificial no- or low-calorie sweeteners can (1) Stimulate Your Appetite  (2)  Increase Carbohydrate Cravings, and  (3) Stimulate Fat Storage and Weight Gain!

Yet another study has been published showing that saccharin and aspartame cause greater weight gain than sugar.

If you are still opting for "diet" choices that include artificially sweetened foods and beverages, you are being sorely misled.  Ditto for diabetics as recent research has shown aspartame also worsens insulin sensitivity 


The San Antonio Heart Study matched the initial body mass (BMI) of gender, ethnicity and diet adults over an eight year period and disovered drinkers of artificilly sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs with dose dependence on the amount of consumption.

The American Cancer Society in a study conducted in the early1980s,  concluded, after one year, that more regular artificial sweetener users gained weight compared to non-users matched by initital weight.  Experiments found the sweet taste, regardless of its caloric content, enhances your appetite.  Aspartame was found to have the most pronounced effect, but the same applied to other artifical sweeteners.  The reason why glucose or sucrose (table sugar) tended to lead to lower food consumption was because the calories contained in natural sweeteners triggered biological responses to keep your overall energy consumption constant.  

In 2011, another study following up the earlier study showed once again that "consuming non-caloric sweeteners may promote excessive intake and body weight gain by weakening a predictive relationship between sweet taste and the caloric consequences of eating."

In essence, real sugar allows your body to accurately determine that it has received enough calories, thereby activating satiety signaling.  Without the calories, your appetite is activated by the sweet taste, but as your body keeps waiting for the calories to come, sensations of hunger remain.


You remain hungry; you crave sweets, and your body stores more fat.  All of this may leade to loss of serotonin levels which will then reduce feelings of sateity and lead to over-eating or binge eating.  It's a slippery slope that no one would want to be on.  

Counting calories is typically useless for weight loss.  This is because calories are not created equal and will not have identical effects on your weight or health. Fooling your body with artificial sweeteners (or anything artificial) devoid of calories will likely make things worse.

It is important for you to realize that the preferred fuel for your body is fat - not carbohydrates.  Switching from a carb-based diet to a fat- and protein-based diet will help rebalance your body's chemistry, and a natural side effect of this is weight loss and/or improved weight management once you've regained your ideal weight.

One explanation for this is that you don't really get fat from eating too much and exercising too little.  Nor do you get fat from eating fat.  There is reason to believe that most people's health would benefit from having as much as 60-70% healthful fats in their diet (see Sugar,Fat, Salt Not So Bad).

Overeating and excess weight could be viewed as a symptom of the wrong proportion of macro-nutrients.  You are simply not feeding your body the right fuel.  It is not necessarily the result of eating too many calories, but rather getting your calories from the wrong sources.  Even if you have the highest quality raw and organic foods, if you have a non-optimal combination with identical calories, you will likely gain weight.  

So, learn to listen to your body, and if you are one of the 2/3 people who are overweight, seriously radically reducing your carbs and replacing them with fibrous vegetables,, lower your protein levels and replace those missing calories with healthy fats from coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, pastured grass-fed butter and nuts.