Monday, July 17, 2017 HDL, Acne, & Artificial Sweeteners
Let’s look at the various sweeteners.
Does aspartame induce an insulin response? No:
- One study found that aspartame had no effect on insulin levels.
- Another also found that aspartame had no effect on the insulin response in humans, whether alone or combined with carbohydrates.
- Another earlier study (full PDF) examined the effects of a diet soda-sized dose aspartame on prolactin, cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, and blood glucose levels, finding none.
- Among forty-eight healthy volunteers found no evidence that aspartame has an effect on insulin levels.
What about sucralose (Splenda)? Nope:
- A study where scientists shot Splenda directly into the gut showed that it does not stimulate the insulin response.
- Another study found that oral dosing of sucralose did not induce a cephalic insulin response.
As for the others, a review of in vivo studies concluded that “low-energy sweeteners” do not have any effects on insulin or appetite hormones.
Yet, observational studies continue to find links between artificial sweeteners and obesity. Maybe it’s reverse causality—being overweight causes diet soda consumption. Overweight people are more likely to drink diet soda because they think it’ll help them lose weight, and intent to lose weight does predict artificial sweetener usage. But this 2016 study attempted to minimize the effect of reverse causality, and they still found strong links between artificial sweetener consumption and the risk of abdominal obesity. Those who drank the most diet soda had the biggest bellies.
It’s hard to say, but I err on the side of “avoid”—even if the reason has nothing to do with insulin or appetite.
What’s easier to say is that the non-caloric-yet-natural sweeteners, like stevia or monk fruit, are better choices. Take stevia, for example. In one study where it was compared to sugar or Splenda, stevia actually reduced postprandial insulin levels, and those who ate the stevia didn’t increase calories to make up for the missing sugar calories.
All that said, there’s one surefire way non-caloric sweeteners—even natural ones—can compromise fat loss and and stimulate appetite: by compelling you to eat treats you’d otherwise shun.
Say you eat a good Primal dinner. You’re done. You’re quite full. You’d never consider tucking into a sugary bar of milk chocolate—unless it was sweetened by stevia or monk fruit or one of the sugar alcohols.
Before you know it, you’ve eaten an entire sugar-free chocolate bar that you would have ignored if it had sugar. You’ve just tacked on a few hundred calories to your total, all thanks to the stevia.
That’s it for today, folks. Take care and be well.