Thursday, April 21, 2011

Use of Artificial Sweeteners Increases Body Fat

There has been conflicting stories about the use of artificial sweeteners, especially diet sodas. A recent article suggest drinking diet soda does not increase the risk of diabetes ( Well here is some research to suggest that artificial sweeteners can actually increase body fat, which can be a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes and the Insulin Resistant Syndrome. This is from the Colgan Institute ( So maybe think twice before you decide to guzzle down that next diet soda.

The main sugar substitutes are saccarin (Sweet'N Low), aspartame (Equal,NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda, Altern) and acesulfame potassium.  Sorbital and maltitol are used in "no sugar " ice cream and candy. Erythritol is the most recent, xylitol, cyclamate, and stevia are common. Despite their minimal to zero calories, they all make you put on body fat.
They pile on the pudge for simple physiological reasons.  Sweet tastes in the mouth, and in the gut, induce an appetitive response by the brain, and an insulin response by the pancreas.(1-3)   Because the artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, the  response is larger than if you use sugar. Insulin is a prime storage hormone.  The extra insulin will store as fat all the extra calories you eat because of the appetitive response induced but not satisfied by the chemical sweetener.  Studies show definitively that both rats and people fed artificial sweeteners, put on more weight than if they used the equivalent amount of sugar.(1-3) 
The artificial sweetener industry does not like being told that they are contributing to the rampant adult-onset diabetes and obesity in the US and Canada.  And their ads claim the opposite.  But if you examine the science, you will never use an artificial sweetener again.
1. Yang Q.Gain weight by "going diet?" Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun;83(2):101-8.
2. Brown RJ, de Banate MA, Rother KI.Artificial sweeteners: a systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. Int J Pediatr Obes. 2010 Aug;5(4):305-12.
3. Margolskee,R, et al. T1R3 and gustducin in gut sense sugars to regulate expression of Na+-glucose cotransporter 1 PNAS 2007 104: 15075-15080


  1. Even though I eliminated added sugars four years ago, I did rely upon artificial sweeteners. A couple of years ago, I decided to eliminate artificial sweeteners as well and something very unexpected happened.

    A month after eliminating artificial sweeteners, my wife had a portion of a clementine and she had to spit it out because it was so sour. I asked her for a slice and I had to spit it out because it was "too sweet", a sensation I had never experienced before.

    Almost 2 years later, the sweetest thing I can eat is a berry. Anything sweeter is very unpleasant. I haven't had a craving for anything sweet during the last 2 years and people look at me funny when I tell them the only fruit I can eat are berries.

    "Sweetness" is so entrenched in our society and people think it's normal to constantly consume sweetened(naturally or artificial) foods. I'm so grateful I tried my "no sweetener" experiment.

  2. Thanks so much for this information! My mom is a compulsive soda drinker. I don't think I've ever seen her without a Diet Coke in her had for my entire life. It's her thing, and she loves it. She always thinks that diet soda's aren't that big of a deal, because they don't actually have sugar in them. I just never got into them, because I didn't like how the artificial sweeteners tastes. Come to find out there seem to be a lot of hazards to sweeteners like this. Thanks for the information about increased body fat though, it's completely interesting!

    Southern Colorado Clinic