The average American consumes a staggering 24 lbs. of artificial sweeteners per year in an effort to reduce calories, lose weight, and rid belly fat. The common belief that artificially sweetened foods and beverages will help you lose weight is a carefully orchestrated deception by food manufacturers and their cleverly crafted marketing campaigns.
Artificial sweeteners are found in thousands of every day foods and beverages that are labeled as ‘diet’ and many are considered to be healthy choices, including low fat yogurt, wheat bread, cereal, vitamins, vegetable sauces, fruit juices, single serving frozen dinners, diet soda and baby food. It’s no wonder obesity, diabetes and disease is skyrocketing since our food source is heavily laden with artificial sweeteners and chemicals to preserve our food for years. When these toxic ‘mystery’ foods are eaten, your body has no way of processing them so they are stored as fat.
According to studies, when the body experiences something sweet, it receives a signal that calories and sugar are on its way. When we consume artificial sweeteners, and our body doesn’t receive the calories and sugar we ‘promised’ it, the body reacts by making us hungrier – it’s attempting to get the calories you have denied it. The sweet taste of artificial sweeteners stimulate an endocrinological response, such as insulin production from your pancreas, which can cause a spike and crash effect similar to sugar.
So although you’re not consuming calories in the form of sugar, artificial sweeteners raise your insulin and leptin levels.
Elevated insulin and leptin levels are two of the driving forces behind obesity, diabetes, and a number of our current chronic disease epidemics. Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it, just as your body can become resistant to insulin, and once that happens, your body can no longer “hear” the hormonal messages instructing your body to stop eating, burn fat, and maintain good sensitivity to sweet tastes in your taste buds.
Artificial sweeteners rewire your brain chemistry and metabolism.
How could aspartame and other fake sweeteners make you gain weight even though they’re calorie-free? Because artificial sweeteners can be 1000 times sweeter than sugar, your body becomes confused and increases insulin, your fat-storage hormone. Your metabolism slows down, you become hungry more quickly, you’re prone to eat way more food (especially carbs), and increased belly fat is the inevitable result. Because they confuse and slow down your metabolism, you burn fewer calories every day. Artificial sweeteners make you hungrier and cause you to crave even more sugar and starchy carbs, such as pasta and bread.
Contrary to popular belief, studies have found that artificial sweeteners can:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Increase carbohydrate cravings
- Stimulate fat storage and weight gain
- Cause negative effects on liver, kidneys and other organs
- Cause migraines
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Developmental problems in children and fetuses
- Affect healthy gut bacteria which affects how food is digested and metabolized
- Linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, brain tumors, metabolic syndrome, mood swings and depression
Toxic chemicals found in artificial sweeteners and preservatives are stored in fat cells, the fat around your waist. To become healthy, trim and fit, first rid your diet of these “mystery” foods and eat more non-processed, organic sources of foods.
Stevia: A Healthy Alternative Zero Calorie Sweetener
Stevia, a completely natural sweetener since it’s simply an extract from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. I recommend sticking with Organic Stevia, as some supermarket brands of Stevia powder contain fillers that perform like sugar. Stevia won’t raise your blood sugar levels, and some forms of this sweetener may actually lower blood sugar levels.
Stevia is great for people with diabetes and will not raise blood sugars levels. It’s actually my sweetener of choice.