Day 20: What About Artificial Sweeteners?

Day 20: What About Artificial Sweeteners?

Over the course of our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge our Daily Recap videos  will be where I post the notes I have written for the talks I do in the FaceBook Group each night.  Hopefully this will make what we are talking about easier to follow for everyone that wants to join us in the challenge.  You can see each of the 28 Day Challenge recap posts here.  Please subscribe to the YouTube channel to never miss an video.

Let’s talk about artificial sweeteners.  Are the good?  Are the bad?  Which one is best?  I’m going to tell you up front that I don’t know the answer to these questions.  No one does.  The science just isn’t there yet to say definitively but I will tell you what we know so far and you make the decision.


Probably the biggest thing you need to know is that switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners doesn’t show any statistically significant rate of weight loss in the general population in any study that has been conducted.  33% of all sugar consumption is in our drinks and 42% of our drinks are now diet.  You would think that someone somewhere would be losing weight with so much sugar removed from our diet but we aren’t seeing that.  In fact there isn’t a single study that has been conducted that shows that switching from full sugar drinks to diet drinks affects weight loss at all.  Now, we don’t know why.  Maybe the diet drinks themselves are making people fat or maybe people are thinking that they are being “good” with their Diet Coke so they can eat that extra Twinkie.  No one is sure.


Here are 5 things we don’t know about artificial sweeteners


  1. Pharmacodynamics is what a drug does to your body, Pharmacokinetics is what your body does to a drug.  We have tons of info about the pharmacokinetics of artificial sweeteners because the FDA demands it.  All a company has to do is prove to the FDA that a new sweetener safe and efficacious to get it approved but it doesn’t ask for any work to be done on Pharmacodynamics.  So because the FDA doesn’t ask for it, the sugar companies don’t research it so we don’t know what long term use of sweeteners does to food intake, weight, body fat, or metabolic status.  Some sweeteners have been linked to a host of nervous system or gastrointestinal issues.
  2. When you taste something sweet, a host of hormonal changes happen within the body to deal with the sugar that’s about to hit the system.  What happens when the hypothalamus and the pancreas are primed to deal with sugar but sugar never comes?  We have no idea.  Do those extra hormones pass harmlessly through the system?  Do they do damage?  Do they urge you to go find something sugary and eat it so these hormones don’t go to waste?
  3. Diet Sweeteners might change the composition of gut bacteria causing GI distress and added visceral fat.
  4. Diet sweeteners might cause the same addiction problems sugar does.  Ever try to stop drinking diet drinks and thought the withdrawal symptoms were going to kill you?  Why is that?
  5. For every artificial sweetener on the market, there is someone somewhere saying it is poisonous.  Look up Aspartame poisoning and see how many entries there are.  Some of those studies are legitimate and some have been financed by “Big Sugar” to discredit artificial sweeteners so you go back to using sugar.


Now let’s talk about how to shop at the grocery store


  1. Don’t shop hungry
  2. Shop the edges
  3. If it has a label, it’s processed.  Avoid if you can.
  4. Real food goes bad but that’s a good thing.  If bacteria can digest it, that means you can digest it.  Plan your meals so you buy just enough.
  5. There are at least 40 different names of sugar, learn them so you can avoid them.


A few other tips.


  1. If you are formula feeding a baby, avoid formula with added sugar if possible.  These formulas are the #1 reason we have an epidemic of obese 6 months old
  2. Do not drink your sugar
  3. Make dessert a once a week or less thing.


What if you can’t cook?


  1. Avoid fast food
  2. Beware packaged food
  3. Don’t eat food you can eat standing up.  Buy things you have to sit down and use a knife and fork on.
  4. Make sure it has fat, fiber and protein and preferably something green.


What about restaurants?


  1. If the food came in a wrapper, the wrapper is usually healthier than the food.
  2. Don’t order soda.
  3. Don’t let the server bring bread or chips to the table.
  4. Don’t order dessert
  5. Don’t feel like you need to finish a meal just because you paid for it.  Take half to go or just leave it there and go.

All notes taken from information found in Fat Chance by Dr Lustig, Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, Grain Brain by Dr PerlmutterThe Angriest Trainer Podcast and Jimmy Moore’s Podcasts.

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