A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) pointed out that, based on recent studies; sugar substitutes may be linked to gaining weight.
What they found is that low-calorie sweeteners may promote over-eating by increasing the appetite for more sweet foods, causing weight gain. Basically the body's systems for evaluating the number of calories, energy expenditure, and the feeling of fullness are disrupted.
For example in one of the studies, rats fed artificial sweetener in their food, ingested more calories and gained more weight compared to rats fed a diet containing regular sugar.
It was also found that rats fed sugar substitutes did not change their calorie intake once they ate sugar-sweetened food. Thus the artificial sweetener had longer lasting adverse effects on weight gain and caloric intake even after being put back on a diet containing sugar.
Furthermore, the research showed that animals fed sugar substitute and then put on a diet containing regular sugar, had a lower rise in core body temperature after eating the sweet, high calorie food than those who didn't have the artificial sweetener, resulting in the animals eating more but burning less calories (less efficient). This means that just switching back to regular sugar foods may not be enough to restore normal function.
In a human study it was found that sugar has a stronger effect on the brain in terms of gauging satisfaction and turning off the desire for more food.
This may partially explain why there has been such an increase in obesity, with a rise from 15% of the US population in 1987 to 30% in 2000. During that time the number of people consuming artificial sweeteners rose from 70 million to 160 million.
When it comes to weight control, sugar may not be the enemy we thought it was.
As the Clinical Herbal Therapist at Amber Leaf Wellness, Diva Toolbox Contributor, Elizabeth Walker helps people who are frustrated and disillusioned by their conventional health care, and are seeking fewer side effects, fewer drugs, and want natural and effective options that work even in chronic health conditions. To learn more about making Amber Leaf Wellness part of your health care team go to www.amberleafwellness.ca