I’ve always been a little hesitant of artificial sweeteners. Anything that has the title of “artificial” before it makes me weary. And since I don’t particularly enjoy the after taste that fake sweeteners often leave, I usually stick to the real deal: Sugar, honey, maybe an occasional dose of agave nectar. I’m usually the one persuading my friends to go natural and informing them that fake sugar could cause cancer. While this hasn’t yet been proven in humans, it has been shown in animals. I’ve recently found out there are other reasons not to consume the imitation sugar: The calorieless sweeteners won’t necessarily register as calorie-free in your body, and isn’t that the main point in using them?
If you are drinking diet sodas and using fake sweeteners to help you lose weight, you may want to rethink your weight loss approach. Not only do fake sweeteners come from artificially-processed, unchartered territory, but studies have shown that they may actually cause you to absorb as many calories as real sugar actually contains. Research conducted by the University of Liverpool in England shows that your body processes calorie-free sweeteners the same way it does regular sugar.
Receptors in the intestines are built to find glucose to absorb once they detect sweetness. The receptors are unable to tell the difference between regular and artificial sweeteners, thus making both triggers for the absorption of glucose. Once the receptors are triggered by artificial sweeteners, the body may take calories from somewhere else, contributing to causing one to actually gain weight.
Other studies have shown that artificial sweeteners don’t activate the brain in the same way that sugar does, which can cause the brain to continue to crave sweets. This could cause one to reach for an unhealthy, sweet treat later on.
If you need a little sugar in your in your day, use it moderately and use the real deal. A teaspoon of sugar has a mere 15 calories, without all the cancer/disease-risk speculation. Honey, which has great taste and has been said to have medicinal properties, contains just 22 calories per teaspoon. And as always, eating a piece of fruit to knock out your sweet cravings can rarely do any harm.
We cannot yet be fully aware of how any artificially processed foods will effect our bodies. It’s best to stick with what nature has provided us.