How Sweet it is – the Sequel

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

Recently I published a post about artificial sweeteners, inspired by the curious scientific mind of Dr. Val.  I left off at a point of confusion, hanging between the companies that make aspartame and the companies that market sugar.  Science is hard enough to do properly when honest people are trying to find honest answers.

Throw millions of dollars and professional egos into the mix and who knows how much harder it is to get honest answers.

That is the situation we’re in, trying to find the truth in a confusing mix of sponsored science.  Rather than continue this debate scientist versus that scientist or one company versus the other, I want to make it simple.  You’re used to that from me by now, right?

I see this from 2 angles.  First is simply effectiveness.  I think things should work or not be used.  My patients can tell you how often I focus on this.  Why take a medicine that’s not doing what it’s supposed to?

Same goes with artificial sweeteners.  Industry has worked at this for over 100 years, trying to find a way to give us our sweets without a price.  In all that time, with all the chemicals invented, we’ve never found one that works.

“What do you mean, Doc?  Of course it works.  It’s sweet and zero calories, isn’t that the goal?”

That may be a goal but it’s not the important one, at least not to me.  What are we  trying to do with artificial sweeteners?  Enjoy the sweet taste and yet not gain weight, right?

This is where the fakes have failed.  We’ve never found that diet pop or those little blue packets help people lose weight.  In fact, a recent study (not funded by either group of companies) showed that people who routinely drank diet soda were on average heavier than those that drank regular pop.  To me, this is proof of failure.  If fooling your taste buds can’t fool your waistline, why bother?

The second point is more likely to get mixed up with science geeks and chemical formulas – but let’s not.  Simply put, the most popular artificial sweetener, aspartame, becomes two different chemicals as soon as it passes through the liver.  Methanol is a toxic by-product of alcohol distilling that can cause blindness; formaldehyde is an embalming chemical you smelled in biology class when frog dissection time came around.

The little blue packets and almost every brand of diet soda out there turns into these two chemicals in your liver.  Does that sound like a good thing to you?  Me either!

If it doesn’t work to help weight loss and it turns into poison in my liver, why would I let it through my lips?  I don’t and maybe you should reconsider too…

Change Your Food, Change Your Life!

  1. Sugar is not a problem in reasonable amounts when consumed in the context of adequate supportive nutrition. Same holds for saturated fats. Research suggests that these two ingredients combined with chocolate seem to be benign. Google these headlines:

    Small amounts of chocolate lower BP, cut strokes and MIs |
    Nibble on Chocolate for Lower Heart Attack, Stroke Risks
    New Evidence That Dark Chocolate Helps Ease Emotional Stress
    Heavy chocolate consumption may be linked to heart health, study …
    Can chocolate lower your risk of stroke? – EurekAlert
    Study shows chocolate reduces blood pressure and risk … – EurekAlert
    Chocolate linked to lower stroke risk –

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