Artificial Sweeteners Lead to Overeating
There are two forms of sugar in the food we eat. There are naturally
sugars in fruits and dairy products and there are
added sugars in many processed foods.
Aspartame, an artificial sweetener is the technical name for the brand names,
NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It is made up of three
chemicals: Aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.
A food's natural sweetness provided valuable clues about its
and something sweet is usually a good source of energy. But with the advent and
increased usage of sugar substitutes (from soups to sauces), a recent study has
shown that these products may also play tricks on the body and sabotage
weight-loss efforts. Researchers say artificial sweeteners may interfere with
the body's natural ability to count calories based on a food's sweetness and
make people prone to overindulging in other sweet foods and beverages.
Saccharin is one of the first alternatives to sugar, though
it is not as popular as before. This is due to the fact that it reportedly
causes bladder cancer
Keep your intake of added sugars low by looking
for the following on food labels:
Sugar, whether brown, white, raw or cane
Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup
Molasses or honey and
Fruit juice concentrate
If you want to cut down on your total intake of sugar, consider decreasing
all sugars, white, brown, powdered, raw, as well as honey. You could limit your
intake of foods high in sugar to once a week rather than eating sweets daily.
Another significant reduction in sugar could be made by adding only 1/2 to 1/3
the amount of sugar or honey called for in a recipe. You will be surprised how
good cookies taste with half the sugar.
Soft drinks vs. Weight gain
In the two studies by
Swithers and Davidson, two groups of rats were given two different
sweet-flavored liquids. For the first group, both liquids were sweetened
with natural high-calorie sweeteners so the relationship between taste and
calories was consistent. For the second group, one of the two flavored
liquids was artificially sweetened with saccharin, making the relationship
between sweet taste and calories inconsistent.
After 10 days, the rats were allowed to eat a sweet, high-calorie,
chocolate-flavored snack. The rats that had had the artificially flavored
liquid were less able to compensate for the calories in the snack -- at
mealtime, they ate more. The animals given artificially sweetened drinks ate
about three times as many calories as those that didn't get artificially
sweetened drinks, Swithers said.
In the second study, two groups of rats were fed a high-calorie dietary
supplement plus their regular food every day for 30 days. The supplements
given to each group were the same in calories and nutrition; however, one
group's supplement was like thick chocolate pudding while the other was like
Those given the milk gained more weight than those given the pudding-like
supplement, leading the researchers to conclude that the rats were less able
to estimate the calories they were eating in liquid foods than semi-solid
foods. This may help explain why people who drink regular soft drinks may
put on weight, the researchers said. At the same time more people are drinking and eating foods
sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, they're
not getting any thinner. In contrast, more people are becoming