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Tip: Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Your Friends

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Many people find the low-carb lifestyle because they have to, because they suffer from diabetes, obesity or something related to these things.

It’s extremely common in this group to also have a habit of eating sweet, sugary foods – and this can be hard to give up. It’s natural then to turn to artificial sweeteners instead.

The problem is that these sweeteners are not necessarily much better than added sugar: they maintain sugar cravings and may prevent weight loss. Possibly they may have even worse risks, like causing cancer.

Skipping them altogether – if you can – is the best option, especially if you are or have been addicted to sugar. It’s really only a habit – once the sweeteners are gone, you’ll rapidly lose your need for them.

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How to Lose Weight by Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners

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Pepsi’s New ‘Dumbbell’ Design – A Sign of Desperation?

pepsidumb

Soft drink companies are clearly desperate to turn around the rapidly falling sales, by somehow getting associated with athletes. This may be one of the funniest attempts yet: witness the Pepsi Light Dumbell.

Does it imply that Pepsi Light is made for athletes, or are they encouraging people to work out to counteract the negative effects of the drink? It’s not clear:

Huffington Post: Pepsi’s New ‘Dumbbell’ Design Is A Major Contradiction

A recent study shows that even quitting artificially sweetened sodas can help women lose weight. So if you’re worried about your shape it’s probably best to avoid Pepsi Light.

Artificial sweeteners and weight loss

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Diet Pepsi May Cause Cancer – Consumer Watchdog Downgrades it from “Caution” to “Avoid”

Can Diet Pepsi cause cancer? Possibly. It contains the commonly used sweetener Sucralose. A new study shows that this sweetener causes leukemia and related blood cancers in mice, when they consume it long term. Nobody can know for sure if this means some people drinking Pepsi will end up with leukemia, but it’s quite possible.

The findings caused the consumer watchdog CSPI (known for occasionally being very wrong) to downgrade Sucralose from “caution” to “avoid”.

CSPI: CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid”

Pepsi must be disappointed. It’s just been 6 months since they changed ingredients from the artificial sweetener Aspartame to Sucralose, launching the “new diet Pepsi“, due to health concerns over Aspartame.

The problem with sweeteners

Other negative effects of artificial sweeteners include making it harder to lose weight, disturbing the gut flora and raising blood sugar.

Of course, diet sodas are still preferable to the sugar-bomb real thing – especially when it comes to weight and metabolic disease.

Massively better options include water, coffee or tea.

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Study: Avoiding Diet Beverages Helps Women Lose Weight

Time to switch?

Coca-Cola will HATE this new study. And it may help a lot of people who struggle with their weight.

It’s been debated for a long time: Do diet beverages, with artificial sweeteners, help or brake weight loss? They are certainly less bad than sugar-sweetened beverages, the worst thing ever. But can diet drinks still be a problem?

The jury has been out, but a just-published study clears up the confusion. It followed 62 overweight women who were trying to lose weight and who regularly drank diet beverages. Half the women were randomized to start drinking water instead, the other half continued drinking diet beverages (one small drink five days a week) for 24 weeks.

The women who switched to water lost 19.4 pounds (8.8 kilos) on average, which was 2.6 pounds more (1.2 kilos) than the diet beverage group. The extra weight loss was statistically significant.

The water group also improved their fasting insulin, signs of insulin resistance and their glucose tolerance, compared to the diet drinks group. Those are all good things for losing weight and improving health.

Who to trust?

Importantly this is the only similar study – as far as I know – that has been done with no financial ties to the beverage industry. None of the authors reported any conflict of interest whatsoever.

In contrast, studies showing that diet drinks are neutral for weight control are usually blatantly funded by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo etc. I leave it to you whether to trust your health and weight to Big Soda’s pet scientists.

Personally I’ll keep recommending people to avoid artificial sweeteners in order to lose weight effortlessly. I’ve updated the page How to Lose Weight with details of this new study.

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Diet Coke Helps Weight Loss More Than Water, Media Reports – Based on Coca-Cola Funded Report

Professor Peter Rogers

Professor Peter Rogers

WOW! Drinking Diet Coke is apparently, possibly, maybe BETTER than water for weight loss!

The report is based on this study, which contains no new research but summarizes the authors’ views on all earlier studies – clearly an exercise that introduces lots of subjectivity and bias.

That could be OK. Except the lead author quoted in all the media above, Professor Peter Rogers, has been funded by Sugar Nutrition UK for many years, to “research” satiety effects of sugar-containing drinks. And Sugar Nutrition UK is funded by UK sugar manufacturers. Hmmm.

And it goes on. This present study from Professor Peter Rogers and his colleagues was funded by ILSI Europe, a group funded by companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

In plain talk that means Coca-Cola money in Professor Rogers’ pocket, for services rendered.

Professor Rogers’ co-authors include one person funded by the Dutch Sugar Bureau, one funded by a sweetener company (Canderel), two employees and shareholders in companies that manufacture products containing sugars and sweeteners, and finally one employee of ILSI Europe (funded by Coca-Cola etc.).

This is perhaps the most blatantly biased “science” I’ve seen. It’s like reading marketing material for the beverage industry. Unfortunately some media has fallen for it, and the “study” will surely be cited by a lot of people who want to sell you their diet drinks.

It’s yet another example of how Coca-Cola and other beverage companies pervert the science and confuse the public, harming people, to sell more of their products. But that can be expected. What’s unfortunate is that some scientists still sell out to them.

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Another Reason to be Skeptical of Artificial Sweeteners

Bad for blood sugar?

Bad for your blood sugar?

According to exciting new research, several common artificial sweeteners may have a previously unknown side effect. They affect the gut flora and may thereby elevate blood sugar. Not only in mice, but also in humans.

Science Daily: Certain gut bacteria may induce metabolic changes following exposure to artificial sweeteners

Forbes: Could Artificial Sweeteners Be Contributing To The Obesity Crisis?

The study:

Nature: Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota

This is of course a result that needs to be repeated in more and larger studies in order to learn more about its significance. But it’s already another reason to play it safe and use caution when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Personally, I almost never use them. This is truly a matter of habit. More than a decade ago I used to drink diet soda regularly. Now I never do and I don’t miss it one bit.

Do you use artificial sweeteners and if so, for what? Continue Reading →

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How to Lose Weight #8: Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Do you want to lose weight? Here’s part 8 of a 17-part series of blog posts. You can read all the posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.

8. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners and weight loss

Many people replace sugar with artificial sweeteners in the belief that this will reduce their calorie intake and cause weight loss. It sounds plausible. Several studies, however, have failed to show any positive effect on weight loss by consuming artificial sweeteners instead of plain sugar.

Instead, according to scientific studies, artificial sweeteners can increase appetite and maintain cravings for sweet food.

This could be because the body increases insulin secretion in anticipation that the sugar will appear in the blood. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar drops and hunger increases. Whether this chain of events really take place is somewhat unclear (although something odd happened when I tested Pepsi Max). Nevertheless, artificial sweeteners can certainly maintain an addiction to sweets and lead to snack cravings. And the long term effects of consuming artificial sweeteners are unknown.

By the way, Stevia is marketed as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. That’s marketing talk. There is nothing natural about a processed super-sweet white powder like Stevia.

If you’re having trouble losing weight I suggest that you completely avoid sweeteners. As a bonus you’ll soon start to enjoy the natural sweetness of real food, once you’re no longer adapted to the overpowering artificial sweetness of junk food and “diet” sodas.

More: Read all posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.

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Is Pepsi Max Bad For Your Weight?

The Pepsi Max Test

Can artificial sweeteners from diet sodas affect your weight? My six hour experiment the other day implies that the answer might be yes.

The results can be seen above. I drank the Pepsi Max (17 oz.) after about an hour. The black line is the blood sugar and the purple line is the ketones. Continue Reading →

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What Happens if You Drink Pepsi Max?

Pepsi Max test

What happens if you drink Pepsi Max? Nothing if you believe the soda industry. Diet soda contain no calories, only artficial sweeteners (Aspartame and Acesulfam K in this case).

But when my friend Ronnie Mathiesen tested his blood sugar after drinking Pepsi Max it had a weird effect on his blood sugar (pictured above).

I’ve been planning to redo that test to see if I get a weird result too. Now is the time. And I will not only measure my blood sugar. As I’m in ketosis now I’ll also track my ketone levels closely. If artificial sweeteners result in release of insulin (studies show divergent results) the ketone levels should drop. Ketone production is very sensitive to insulin.

Ultimately this is not just about diet soda. It’s about whether common sweeteners (regardless of use) can somehow disrupt the regulation of blood sugar, insulin and thus mess with satiety, cravings and weight.

What do you think will happen to my blood sugar and ketone levels when I drink 500 ml (17 oz.) of Pepsi Max while fasting?

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Is Stevia Natural?

Stevia

Stevia is a non-caloric sweetener that is relatively new on the international market. It originates in the leaves of a South American plant. Because of that it’s marketed as a “100% natural” alternative to other non-caloric sweeteners.

There’s been some discussion about how natural it really is, as it’s extracted from the leaves using different solvents and goes through further chemical processes before it emerges as a white sweet powder.

Personally I’m no fan of sweeteners, regardless of their origin. They tend to maintain an addiction to sweets. I’ve never seen Stevia as “natural”. It’s purified from leaves and thus it’s no more natural than snorting cocaine (which is also purified from leaves).

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