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Artificial Sweeteners Ruin Your Body's Ability to Count Calories

A study revealed that eating artificially sweetened foods and drinking sweetened beverages might hinder your body's ability to estimate calorie intake, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge.

First Study on Artificial Sweeteners

  • The first group of rats were given two liquids, both of which contained natural high-calorie sweeteners
  • The second group of rats were given two liquids, one that was sweetened with saccharin
  • Both groups were given a sweet, high-calorie chocolate-flavored snack after 10 days into the study

Findings From the Study

  • Rats that were given the artificially flavored liquids had a more difficult time differentiating their calorie intake and displayed the tendency to overeat
  • The rats given artificially sweetened drinks were found to consume three times more calories than rats that didn't receive any sweeteners in their drinks

Second Study on Artificial Sweeteners

  • For the duration of 30 days, two groups of rats were fed their regular food along with a high-calorie supplement.
  • One group was given a supplement similar the heavy consistency of chocolate pudding
  • The other group was given a supplement that had the consistency of chocolate milk

Findings From the Study

  • The rats that were given the chocolate milk-like supplement experienced a notable weight gain over the rats who received the pudding-like supplement
  • Researchers concluded that the rats who were given the milk-like supplement had a harder time estimating calories than the rats that were given the pudding-like supplement

Researchers compared the results of this study to the Pavlovian theory where dogs were conditioned to associate the ringing of a bell to food. Researchers also stated that the rats in the study showed a similar relationship between the taste or texture of a food and the number of calories it contained.

Researchers came to the conclusion that an inability to distinguish calorie intake was brought on by artificial sweeteners.

On the other hand, the sweetener industry viewed the results of the study as inconclusive because of the fact that it was tested solely on animals. They also stated that sweeteners played an active part in weight loss and were a valuable tool for weight control.

Another spokesperson for the sweetener industry added that it wasn't necessary to cut back on artificial sweeteners because the FDA previously approved them.

International Journal of Obesity July 2004;28(7) Pages 933-935

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

The number of Americans consuming sugar-free products increased from less than 70 million in 1987 to more than 160 million in 2000.

During the same period, the consumption of regular soft drinks increased by more than 15 gallons per capita annually.

The average American now consumes over 600 cans of soda a year.

Over the past 25 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the consumption of artificially sweetened foods and low viscosity or mostly liquid, high-calorie beverages. Obesity has also skyrocketed during this period.

Soda is one of the main nutritional reasons why most people suffer from health problems. It parallels alcohol in one profound similarity. If one drinks all that sugar the appetite is relatively suppressed for nourishing foods like vegetables and that results in nutritional deficiencies. This is independent of all the damage that sugar can do.

You might say, "But I drink diet soda!" Well as most of my regular readers know, that is likely far worse (Aspartame), and as the above study shows may ruin your body's ability to count calories.

The healthiest beverage you could drink is pure water.