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Debunking the Myths About ‘Reduced-Fat,’ ‘Zero-Calorie,’ and Artificial Sweeteners

Debunking the Myths About ‘Reduced-Fat,’ ‘Zero-Calorie,’ and Artificial Sweeteners

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If the words “fat-free,” “sugar-free” or “zero calories” convince you to purchase and consume certain foods and drinks, listen up. While healthy alternatives always are welcomed, we need to know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies. Sometimes all of the food labels and buzzwords can make healthy eating more complicated than it needs to be.

Let’s sort through the facts and myths about these oh-so-tempting diet products.

Myth: Artificial sweeteners, such as those found in diet sodas, are bad for you and will make you fat.

Fact: Like almost anything, artificial sweeteners aren’t bad for you in moderation. They are beneficial when used in a diabetic or low-calorie diet. Also, contrary to popular belief, there’s been no conclusive research indicating that they cause cancer or brain tumors in humans. But artificial sweeteners, which are significantly sweeter than sugar, mean that those products in which they are used also have other additives, which could be undesirable to some health-conscious people.

Likewise, the research conducted tying diet soda to an increase in obesity isn’t true.

Myth: Reduced-fat, low-fat or zero-calorie foods are healthy alternatives.

Fact: Removing the fat from food often means an increase in additives or unhealthy levels of sodium and carbohydrates to compensate for the change of flavor. Sometimes these additives make a low- or reduced-fat food just as bad for you if not more than the regular product.

Myth: High-fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Fact: High-fructose corn syrup was designed to come as close as possible to replicating sugar, which as far as calories go, it does. As a sugar substitute, it's no better or worse for you than a cube of the real stuff.

The big problem seems to be how much sweeteners are used in everyday diets. High intake of sweeteners — real or designed — can result in fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

— Melissa Valliant, HellaWella

More From HellaWella:

• Green market glossary: Farmers market labels demystified

• 3 surprisingly unhealthy reduced-fat foods

• The side effects of caffeine no one thinks about

Choosing to be Healthy

It sure feels good getting back to my blog, if you remember I had told you that I was taking a little time off from my blog as our son (Dave) was coming in to visit and we wanted to spend all of our time with him.

As soon as we picked him up from the airport we drove to Branson and went directly to Silver Dollar City (SDC), that's our local version of Disneyland. Dave had asked me earlier if I would go on the rides (roller coasters) with him and since I wanted to spend time with him I told him I would. Now I'm not a fan of roller coasters as the last one I was on was probably 40 years ago or so at the Long Beach Pike in California, so what did Dave do? he bought Trailblazer passes so we could go to the front of the line on all 8 roller coasters.

Believe it or not, I had a great time and would do them all again. So while Dave and I were busy Jan went to the Midwest Living Culinary School that is inside Silver Dollar City (SDC) and attended a cooking class, we had done that before and it is always fun and educational. Underneath SDC is Marvel Cave, SDC was created many years ago, food and a general store, to keep those in line to tour Marvel Cave busy and now it is an amazing theme and amusement park. Later that day the three of us toured Marvel Cave, but did a special tour carrying and only using lanterns to see, that gave us the full experience of what the early explorers saw. Here is a little info on Marvel Cave, it is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! To begin, you will travel 300 feet below the surface (700 steps) and enter the Cathedral Room. The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room is the largest cave entrance room in the United States.

The next day we saw a couple of shows, Clay Cooper's Country Music Express and the Cat's Pajamas, check out the Branson Here We Come post on April 16th for info on those. Dave kept bugging us about the shows being for old people or cowboys, but every time I looked over at him he was smiling, laughing and applauding. Who's he kidding, he had a great time! We also stopped at Dick's Five and Dime in old downtown Branson. It's an old fashioned five and dime, if there's something your looking for you most likely will be able to find it there. We then headed over to Ripley's Believe it or Not, We've been to one before but Dave wanted to go, we did have a good time goofing off at the photo area and couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring one home with us.

The following day we headed home but not until we made a stop at the outlet mall, it had been raining off and on ever since Dave came in but as soon as we park at the mall it came down in buckets full. That didn't stop us though and it gave me a real thrill to see the sparkle in Jan and Dave's eyes as he spoiled his mother rotten. Guess what, no matter what you hear, they do grow up!.

Monday was a tough day for Jan as she needed to stay home and recuperate so Dave and I went to the Wild Animal Park in Springfield, Jan and I hadn't been there yet but I'm definitely going to have to get back there with her. We had a blast, you can drive your own car through it or take a tour bus, we decided to take the bus and had a great time, We bought some food to feed the animals as they would come right up to you and stick their heads through the open windows to get fed.

I couldn't get subs for my Weight Watchers meetings so while was at them Jan and Dave went to Springfield for the movies, zoo and shopping. We had scheduled golf on Thursday and even though it wasn't raining that day the golf course was closed due to the last nine days of rain and it was flooded, oh well hopefully we can play golf the next time he comes out. We had a great time with him and look forward to his next visit.

So how did our weigh-ins go, after 2 weeks of going all the time we both gained just a little over a pound and we are very happy with that. I earned a lot of activity points and was glad to have the ActiveLink with me to calculate them, I earned 29 points the day I rode all of the roller coasters and ate everyone of them. I read a great article on Hella Wella and wanted to share it with you.

They were significantly less likely to choose whole grains and leafy vegetables after the sleepless night, instead craving the less healthy snacks and junk food.

“These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity,” said Stephanie Greer, a doctoral student in Walker’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory and lead author of the paper.

This weeks food food find as a good one if your'e looking for more protein at breakfast and great taste.

Only do intense workouts


Sure, a hardcore HIIT workout or spin class may raise your heart rate and burn more calories more than yoga, but there's something to be said for a workout that's been scientifically proven to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Why is staying chill so important? The more cortisol that's surging through your system, the hungrier and heavier you'll become, according to a Psychoneuroendocrinology study. The bottom line: You need to be both active and stress-free to reach your body goals. So don't kick your high-intensity workouts to the curb, but be sure to make time for calming workout like yoga, at least once a week, too.

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Could Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?

WEDNESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Artificial sweeteners appear to disturb the body's ability to count calories and, as a result, diet foods and drinks may wind up encouraging weight gain rather than weight loss, an expert contends.

These sweeteners may also increase the risk of health problems like heart disease and diabetes, some evidence suggests.

In an opinion piece published July 10 in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Susan Swithers, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., rounded up recent research on artificial sweeteners.

Commonly used sweeteners include sucralose, aspartame and saccharin, among others.

Swithers has been studying the effects of artificial sweeteners on rats, but the journal asked her to look at evidence of health effects in humans too.

Swithers said studies following people who regularly consume diet soft drinks over time have found that those people are at higher risk for weight gain and obesity than people who don't drink sodas at all.


Compared to people who avoid diet or regular soft drinks, diet soda drinkers also appear to have elevated risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome -- a group of symptoms that puts people at increased risk for those conditions.

What's more, Swithers said, the risks for these health effects seem to be similar in people who drink diet sodas compared to those who drink regular sodas, suggesting that there isn't much benefit in switching.

Some of those studies aren't conclusive, however, because they can't rule out the possibility that people were drinking diet sodas because they were gaining weight, not the other way around -- a problem called reverse causality.

One study of soda-drinking teens found that those assigned to swap regular soda for one diet soda every day gained less weight over the course of 18 months than those who kept drinking sugar-sweetened soda. The study didn't look at what might happen if teens were asked to drink water instead of sweetened beverages, however.

Not everyone agrees with Swithers's assessment of the research.


"The views in this opinion piece I found to be biased and speculative," said Theresa Hedrick, nutrition and scientific affairs specialist for the Calorie Control Council, a lobbying group for the manufacturers of artificial sweeteners. "She's presented only the research that supports her opinion and ignored the large body of scientific research that demonstrates the safety and benefits of low-calorie sweeteners."

"I think it's important to remember that low-calorie sweeteners are one aspect of a multifaceted approach to health or obesity prevention," Hedrick said. "They aren't magic bullets."

But Swithers said her animal studies support the counterintuitive notion that artificial sweeteners may lead to weight gain, even if they don't have any calories.

She said she's seen evidence of metabolic disruptions caused by artificial sweeteners in rats.

It basically goes something like this: In a world without artificial sweeteners, a taste of something sweet preps the brain and the gut for digestion of incoming calories. When the calories don't show, as happens with artificial sweeteners, those metabolic responses don't fire the way they should. Insulin doesn't increase hormones that increase the feeling of fullness and satisfaction aren't triggered and the brain doesn't get a feeling of reward from the dopamine that sugars release.


After a while, Swithers said, it's like the mouth keeps crying wolf, and the brain and gut stop listening. As a result, when real sugar and real calories come along, the body doesn't respond to them as strongly as it normally might. Calories don't end up making you feel as full as they should. They aren't as rewarding. So you don't get the signals that might stop you from eating when you should.

Artificial sweeteners may also facilitate something psychologists call cognitive distortions. That is, they allow us to trick ourselves into thinking we can eat more calories than we really should. Saving calories with a diet soda now means a slab of chocolate cake is OK later.

"I think there are multiple things that are contributing to this," Swithers said. "Psychology is a factor, but physiology can also be altered."


Based on her research, she said, water is the best bet for people who are trying to lose weight or improve other measures of health.

"The downside to drinking the diet sodas is that they may undermine these unconscious processes that could help us regulate our weight and other things like blood sugar," she said.

Consume with a Grain of Salt

According to the National Cancer Institute, there's no scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S. cause cancer.

"The cancer risks are not something that an individual person should worry about," says Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, founder and chief scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. "It's more a risk for the government as the potential problems occur when millions of people consume the sweeteners for years," he tells WebMD.


But cancer risk may not be the only health concern with these artificial sweeteners.


"If somebody is trying to lose weight and cut back on calories, artificial sweeteners can add flavor to unsweetened beverages or other products," Jacobson says. "Somebody who consumes a lot of artificially sweetened foods should think twice about their diet and ought to be eating real food."

"I don't think [artificial sweeteners] are needed at all," he adds. "I fear that in some cases people have a diet soda for lunch and then have a couple of tablespoons of ice cream -- giving up the saved calories."

Other caveats when consuming sugar substitutes:

People with a rare disorder known as phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine, which is found in aspartame. PKU is detected at birth through a mandatory screening program.

In the short term, some people develop headaches after consuming foods sweetened with aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, Advantame), Jacobson says.

In the long term, using sugar substitutes instead of sugar can lower your risk of tooth decay, but "the acid in diet soda still could contribute to dental erosion," he points out.


Still, says Roxland, you can't really overdose on artificial sweeteners. Go ahead and indulge:

"Even if a person binges on low-calorie Fudgesicles or Creamsicles, as long as their diet is otherwise healthy, there is no downside because they would probably be bingeing on something a lot worse," she says.


SOURCES: Phyllis Roxland. Ruth Kava, PhD, RD, nutritionist and director, nutrition, American Council on Science and Health, New York City. Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, chief scientist, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Consumption of Low-Calorie Sweeteners among Children and Adults in the United States." American Diabetes Association. National Cancer Institute: “Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer."

How zero calories sweeteners may cause you to gain weight

Zero calorie sweeteners enhance the wrong microbes in your gut. There are two types of microbes in your gut that enable you to get energy or fat from your food

Microbes that convert food into:

  • Energy – Bacteroidetes bacteria
  • Fat (For storage in your tissues) – Firmicutes bacteria

Firmicutes bacteria may be sabotaging your diet Stanford University microbiologist David Relman states that firmicutes bacteria also affect hormone levels in the gut, including the hormone leptin, which may cause you to overeat.

Zero calorie sweeteners have been shown to enhance the activity of firmicutes bacteria in your gut that converts food into fat. This means that even though you take in fewer calories, those sweeteners are causing the calories you do take in to be stored as fat, instead of converted to energy.

Jeffrey Gordon, a physician and biologist at Washington University in St. Louis has found a similar pattern in humans. Overweight people who lose weight on a diet show an increase in the ratio of bacteroidetes bacteria over firmicutes bacteria as they lose weight.

Diabetic Warning – Glucose intolerance is another problem that may be made worse by artificial sweeteners. In a study on mice, it was shown that mice fed a daily dose of aspartame, sucralose or saccharin developed glucose intolerance in 11 weeks. Mice given a daily dose of sugar (as a control) were fine. The results of this study need to be confirmed in human trials, but for now, diabetics may wish to avoid artificially sweetened food and beverages.

Bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, you should avoid artificial sweeteners, since there is strong evidence that they interfere with your gut bacteria in a way that causes you to gain weight.

Corporate Marketing Myths That’ll Make You Fat

Do you know anyone who uses artificial sweeteners because they’re dieting?

Statistics show that 73 percent of low-calorie product consumers are not on a diet. Instead, these “non-dieters” have the impression that diet products are part of a healthy lifestyle .

Hum – who gave them that impression?

Marketers promote the importance of artificial sweeteners and diet products promoting the following myths:

Myth #1 :

Artificial sweeteners offer a way to control calories. Diet products have made “calorie juggling” a popular method for maintaining weight.

Myth #2 :

As part of a sensible weight-control program, artificial sweeteners can help you reduce calories, which helps you lose weight.

Myth #3 :

Artificial sweeteners and diet products provide weight-conscious people with a greater variety of food and beverage choices.

Myth #4 :

The ultimate success of any weight-loss program depends on the particular product—not on the responsibility of the individual.

Myth #5 :

Human and animal evidence supports complete artificial sweetener safety.

Myth #6 :

The majority of health professionals push diet products as beneficial for weight control and diabetes.

Debunking The Myths

You can read the details in Sweet Poison, but for now, here are the main talking points:

There are many research studies that prove the artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain. Research the Cephalic Phase Response for starters.

So, for the average person, diet sweeteners are no guaranteed path to weight loss. No product, no pill, no medication can take the place of a healthy diet, exercise, plenty of rest, and a balanced lifestyle.

Diet products aren’t the answer.

Don’t Worry—You Can Make Changes To Lose Weight

Try these suggestions to dispel the bogus myths:

* In restaurants, share entrees or ask the waiter to put half the entree in a doggie bag for later – before you even touch it.

* Order lunch-sized portions for all meals. Many restaurants serve four to six ounces of meat at lunch, compared to eight to ten ounces at dinner.

* At home, use smaller plates and bowls. It will look as if you’re eating more.

* Check food labels for the serving size. Eat one serving only.

* Drink water for a snack when you’re hungry.

* Instead of drinking soda (regular or diet), drink water (add a squirt of lemon or lime for flavor).

* Measure your servings to see their sizes. Example: Two level tablespoons of peanut butter.

* Buy smaller packages of candy, popcorn and snacks, or better yet, seek out healthy alternatives like raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruit, cheese and hardboiled eggs.

* Do not eat or drink diet products period.

As you gradually avoid fake foods and artificial sweeteners in your daily life, replace them with whole, nutritious foods, and your body will feel satisfied. When you give your body the whole food nutrients that it needs to maintain health, you will be able to eat until you feel full without gaining weight and without feeling hungry.

If you want to learn more about diet sweetener dangers and disease prevention, contact me at Remember that you are never alone when you are looking for good health!

Gain access to all of my online programs, ongoing support, monthly Q&A, and more by joining my Private Inner Circle Membership Program . I look forward to supporting you on your journey to alternative health and wellness.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.

Before taking vitamins, consult your doctor pre-existing medical conditions or medications you are taking can affect how your body responds to multivitamins.

You have our permission to reprint this article if you attribute us with a live back-link to this article and the youtube links.

About Janet Hull PhD, CN

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been working with clients in the holistic health field since 1995. Using natural medicine to cure herself from a diagnosis of Graves’ disease caused by aspartame, Dr. Hull began researching the toxic causes of disease. Today, she is one of the world’s leading experts in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first researcher to publicly expose the dangers of aspartame. She has been writing her weekly email newsletter since 2002 covering a variety of holistic health and alternative medicine articles. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, and Google Plus.


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


geez thanks for this its awesome

My grandfather died of alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. He used saccharin in every glass of tea he drank and he had it 3 to 4 times a day. The doctor told my family that he thought the disease was due to the saccharin. What are your thoughts? I was a small child, he died in the late 80’s.

Artificial sweeteners used to flavor food and pleasing to basically are suitable for people with diabetes and people who are in weight control.
There are many artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin.
One problem with sugars is that many products add an extremely high amount of sugar to sweetener the products. More intake means more calories , and more calories means illness and effects your health.

These artificial sweeteners are not worth the squeeze
they contribute to more illnesses than any benefit.

One problem with sugars, however, is that many products add an extremely high amount of sugar to sweetener the products. This, in turn, causes the product to be higher in calories. Because consuming more calories means you must expend more calories to reduce or manage your weight, this can be of concern.

I have always used artificial sweeteners. Until, I read the book “Knockout” by Suzanne Somers. Artificial sweeteners contain harmful substances that trick our bodies. But, cancer seems to love sugar. According to the article, brown raw sugar is the same as white sugar. But how does raw brown sugar become white sugar they chemically bleach color forming impurities into colorless ones and the process is called “Mill White” and is clarified with phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide which combine to calcium phosphate. Just how much bleach do we want to consume. Now thankfully we have stevia products which is approved by the FDA and can replace sugar naturally. Soon it will replace sugar in diet soft drinks and will help all of those addicted to colas etc. Let’s all remember to eat healthy and eat lots of fruit, vegetables, milk/dairy just like the food color chart so we won’t still be hungry and crave sweets loaded with sugars.

Artificial sweeteners or energy used to flavor food and pleasing to basically are suitable for people with diabetes and people who are in weight control. For a person who play sports are not recommended frequent consumption of this product because in the sportsman the main feature of their diet is increased energy for physical activity and if not indicated any sweetener would cover that feature. However, there are some cases in which you can specify the use such as sports where weight is crucial to competition as in Competitive Art (synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, etc. or contact sports.

The recommendation for the daily intake depends on the product and the pounds of body weight that the individual has.
For human consumption are permitted three artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame K, aspartame and saccharin.

IT’s funny because I had been using sweeteners in my coffee and tea for over 20 years and thought they were doing me good, but after some research I found that they are counter-productive for weight loss.

If you take the low carb diet for example, and use sweeteners, you will get a craving for sweet things much more often than usual, and we all know cravings are the curse of anyone watching their weight.

I think sugar is the better option if you MUST have a sweet tea, but cut it out all together…it may take you a month or so to get used to the non-sweet taste, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Thanks for the article, it underlined what I have thought about artificial sweeteners for a few years.

I have heard many things about artificial sweeteners not being good for your health. I know sugar in excess can be bad for you as well. My advice would be to use both in moderation.

There’s alot of harmful effects on the body with artificial sweetners for sure. It’s a violation of sound nutrition principles. More and more people are catching on now though, thank goodness!

I watched “The Doctors” TV show about this, and had no idea that artificial sweeteners were that bad. I have since quit drinking diet sodas, and now drink the ones with sugar, but in moderation

i think we should avoid using these artificial things or use these as less a possible. no doubt that the natural foods are most nutririous and benificial for our health.artifical things can be dangerous sometimes,

Reading many of the posts before me, the consensus seems clear – natural is better than artificial. It sounds like an easy enough conclusion to come to but when we’re talking about weight control and dieting, the picture often becomes blurred with people’s need for sweetness and the automatic assumption that sugar is bad. Its the whole “have your cake and eat it too” syndrome for many dieters. Moderation is the key to any healthy lifestyle be it with natural sugars or artificial sweeteners and too much of anything is unhealthy, plain and simple.

I have patients who visit my office on a regular basis who get headaches from these artificial sweatners. I also tell my patients to avoid when possible and use unprocessed sugar in moderation instead.

Well written article, Holly,
Dr. Brown

I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and have my friends check up here often.

I also dont believe using suger is that bad for you. As long as everything is used in moderation and a person is actively exercising, everthing should be fine.

The profit margins on artificial sweeteners are extremely high for the manufacturers, they still cost the food industry just a fraction of the cost of sugar and corn syrup. Corn syrup was introduced by the industry as a low-cost alternative to sugar. So it’ is not surprising that the food industry is promoting its “diet” or “light” products heavily, thus moving the customers over to its more profitable, artificially sweetened products.
individuals use sugar substitutes- For Diabetes people have difficulty to regulating their blood sugar levels. By limiting their sugar intake with artificial sweeteners, they can enjoy a varied diet while closely controlling their sugar intake.

I am really agree that “Artificial sweeteners may seem like a healthy alternative to regular sugar, but as this post points out, the risk may be greater than the benefit”. Sugar is the main cause for over weighting.

Thank you for a great post. As of late I’ve read more and more about that dangers of sugar and use of artificial sweeteners to help reduce those risks.

Personally, I’m not a fan of anything artificial for nutrition. And the fact that there just hasn’t been enough long term testing of these sweeteners continue to drive my caution in using them as well. Dr. Ludwig’s comments add even more thoughts to consider in using these substances.

Thank you again for this information. I am adding it to my knowledge bank to use in my efforts to help individuals participate in a healthy lifestyle when it comes to their nutrition.

You have to wonder about these sweetners. I think there are some sweeteners that are actually worse than others, but I don’t think ALL sweeteners that aren’t made from sugar are bad.

Yes, sugar is the ingredient our body uses, but it doesn’t always rule out natural alternatives like Stevia.

It’s when you’re getting TOO MUCH of anything it becomes a problem.

My husband and I have a membership at YMCA, I don’t intake any soda. I do use Artificial sweeteners in my coffee ( no more than 2 cups in the morning) we use Artificial sweeteners in all baking and by eating right and exercising and watching our diet, I feel MUCH BETTER than in taking regular sugar. 1 Thing, My husband as a treat has his cookies and I have my almonds. We swim, speed walk and use certain weights. I also do crunches and use machine for love handles, We drink LOTS of WATER. Happy in Oklahoma!

Nature is the best. Taking the natural sugar can benefit your health as long as you take attention on what you are eating. Never over-consuming.

Great job on the article, will be back again for more

About 5 years ago, I became extremely sick, prompting me to go see a doctor. The symptoms were fatigue, pain in my left side, extreme thrust, shortness of breath, unable to sleep due to pain in left side, muscle weakness, dizziness, lack of appetite, weight loss, and anxiety. After performing tests, the doctor told me I had pneumonia with fluid build up in my left lung. She also said I had 6000 triglycerides….the most she had ever seen in her entire life as a doctor. And….to top it all, she also diagnosed me as being diabetic with a sugar count of 640.

This was very distressing news, since I had always been in very good health, and very rarely ever needed a doctor due to illness. She immediately gave me a shot to lower my sugar count, and pneumonia, and prescribed insulin shots, along with “Lipitor” tablets to also lower my cholesterol.

Now, my being concerned as to what caused all this mess, I immediately cut out all foods with artificial content, such as artificial sweeteners, chemical additives such as MSG, sodas, and especially oils. And, oh yes….I tried walking a few miles a day.

Just about a month later, all my vital signs reverted back to normal, which mystified my doctor, and most of the staff in the clinic. My doctor also took me off of insulin, and put me on pills, which worked very well up to now. Just recently, I tried going off the pills, and substituted them with an over the counter vitamin supplement called “Alpha Lipoic Acid” 600 MG tablets, which I take twice a day. It has worked wonders, for the past 4 months regulating my blood to normal without the prescriptions, and I am feeling great.

I do believe it was the “Aspartame” in diet sodas that caused the problem….and since I have cut out sodas all together, I am convinced this was, all along, what originally triggered all these symptoms

I agree with the previous comment. To put Stevia in the same category than the articifial sweetener is completely misleading. While I agree that an apple may be the best choice, we still need sugar here is there. So why not talk about the different types of sugar that are now available to us in differnt forms, which is convenient for baking or add to smoothies: maple or agave syrup, coconut crystals, date sugar, stevia etc … and that all have a lower glycemic index than cane sugar. You also need to make the distinction between raw brown cane sugsr and white refined sugar etc …. There is much more to say than this article says. Way too simplified and incomplete

I agree, this article needs re-defining. Stevia is a natural sweetening made from a plant and not synthetic. We use it in baking, coffee, and things such as this. We also have our own honey bee hives and process it without heat so it is very healthy and use it often for sweetening even in baking where ever it calls for sugar. It is very healthy for a person.

i find it interesting you categorize stevia with the other artificial sweeteners. stevia leaf is NOT chemically derived like the others. also, stevia is NOT poisonous like the others. you should have warned people about sugar (fructose from gmo sugar beets) to cane sugar (even if it is refined it is better than fructose in any form). how deceptive this article is, stevia doesn’t harm you in that way and if used properly, doesn’t fool the body nor the mind. truvia IS NOT stevia.

In the early 80s I started having strange symptoms. Patchy numbness, ringing in ears, etc. I also was drinking Diet Coke. In 1988 while at a staff meeting, my face went numb on the left side. It was like a netting coming across my face. Fortunantly I was in a hosptial and was immediatly taken to the emergency room. To make a long story short after years of people telling me I had MS, or other neurological system, in 2008 I decided to listen to two of my co-workers – “Get off Diet Coke”. I did. The medication I had to take is no longer needed, the burning sensation and the patch of numbness disappeared from all the other places. Now I do not touch anything with “light” on it. Funny, I have not gained weight, so drinking Diet Coke was useless. I stick with the Stevia drinks – I hope someday Coke will have to quit making that poisen. That is my story. Stay away from

I have studied aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) for more than 25 years because it caused a drastic personality change and intellectual deterioration in my daughter. She also developed epileptic-type seizures and began to lose the vision in both eyes.

She consulted a neurologist, and he told her that she had temporal lobe
epilepsy. He began treating her with medication, but the medication didn’t work,
because the doctor was wrong in his diagnosis and he was treating her for a
condition she didn’t have! What she really had was a reaction to ASPARTAME

I heard about Dr. H. J. Roberts in Florida, so I contacted him and he
confirmed what I suspected – that she was suffering from a reaction to the
artificial sweetener in diet soda. He has written many medical texts about aspartame.

To follow up, we took our daughter to Boston for special studies on her brain, and
the doctors confirmed that it was the NutraSweet that had made her so sick.
They said that she had been totally misdiagnosed by the neurologist and that
she did not have temporal lobe epilepsy at all. (These men were in the
Clinical Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology.). We also took her to a highly-respected ophthalmologist who
explained why her vision loss was due to aspartame.

She finally stopped drinking sodas containing aspartame, and she had a complete recovery and has had a fine job since then as a computer programmer and financial analyst and actuary.

My daughter drank only one can of diet soda a day. I react with a classic migraine after a few sips of diet soda. Aspartame causes many serious documented problems in so many people. The FDA should REMOVE IT FROM THE MARKET!

Surely it is a case of moderation, in the case of weight loss even too much in the way of natural sugars (and not enough exercise) has been reported to add weight. I try and go by the old saying ‘everything in moderation’ but even then I am unsure of what exactly is moderation?!

I stopped drinking any diet soda since Jan 1st and have kept it going strong. I now just drink water with occasional unsweetened tea for meals. I use Splenda to sweeten it up.

I would suggest to stay away from any soda whether diet or sweetened. You will see the loss of weight and a better and healthier body if you do !!

Whole fruits contain natural sugars and have redeeming qualities like fiber and vitamins.

Dear Robert, Splenda isn’t any better as it is STILL a chemical. It would be better to try something NATURAL – stevia, xylitol, maple syrup, but try to avoid ALL chemical sweeteners.

I have always used artificial sweeteners. Until, I read the book “Knockout” by Suzanne Somers. Artificial sweeteners contain harmful substances that trick our bodies. But, cancer seems to love sugar. According to the article, brown raw sugar is the same as white sugar. But how does raw brown sugar become white sugar they chemically bleach color forming impurities into colorless ones and the process is called “Mill White” and is clarified with phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide which combine to calcium phosphate. Just how much bleach do we want to consume. Now thankfully we have stevia products which is approved by the FDA and can replace sugar naturally. Soon it will replace sugar in diet soft drinks and will help all of those addicted to colas etc. Let’s all remember to eat healthy and eat lots of fruit, vegetables, milk/dairy just like the food color chart so we won’t still be hungry and crave sweets loaded with sugars.

It’s interesting how strong stand Harvard takes in the case of non-nutritive sweeteners. As Harvard professor Mozaffarian has many times pointed out animal and cohort studies are only suggestive.

There’s alot of harmful effects on the body with artificial sweetners for sure. It’s a violation of sound nutrition principles. More and more people are catching on now though, thank goodness!

Artificial sweeteners are not natural which means there are chemicals involved that might affect our body. There is even a study that these sweeteners can make you fat and affects your diet in a negative way. I suggest to use natural cane “brown sugar” than the white one.

Mike — Chemically, there isn’t any difference between “natural cane brown sugar” and white sugar. You may be getting peace of mind from the switch, but it isn’t doing anything for your body.

These artificial sweeteners are not worth the squeeze
they contribute to more illnesses than any benefit

It’s all RISK versus BENEFIT

Industry takes the BENEFIT.

Some years ago I read a report saying that the sweet taste in your mouth of an artificially sweetened food or drink stimulates the production of insulin in the body. But because there is no sugar to be metabolized, the body is left with excess insulin. Over time, the regular production of insulin that’s not used causes difficulties that could be compared to diabetes – although not the same.

Since then, I’ve heard nothing about this. Why? was it proved to be wrong? Have there been further studies? Does anyone know?

Hi A very good thought. The body recognises in the west only four tastes and there are probably more regulatory controls in us than we realise. We know if we need food. We know if we need a drink. We keep our body temperature within very close limits etc. etc.
It is intuitive that a SWEET taste will make us react in some way such as to get rid of the sugar. Those that cannot then adapt to the new situation (no sugar to get rid of) are likely to suffer. The body will learn to cope EVENTUALLY but as you say many will get false diagnoses of DIABETES from substiute sugars?

And a few years ago this meant possibly a new wonder drug for diabetes that turned my friends diabetes to a death sentence from bowel cancer in two years. The new wonder drug has been removed because it is thought but not likely to produce bowel cancer.

We seem as positive over drugs that give us cancer as we are about sugar substitutes that may give us epilepsy etc etc.

There are so many deniers of harm it is better to rephrase it like this:

Mercury that well known brain destroyer is almost certainly not the cause of disordered brains in babies injected with thimerosal a well known compound of mercury. So that leaves it open to discuss anything else MORE likely. At present coffee or going to work every day are the most likely causes for the massive rises in autism. UNLESS you know better?

I gained weight and became morbidly obese drinking regular soda. Starting at the age of 46, I lost 150 pounds of body fat — all the time drinking diet soda.

I know skinny people who only drink diet soda and I know obese people who drink only regular soda. Most overweight people drink diet soda because they want to cut down on calories – they do know and understand more calories equals weight gain.

Unfortunately many clinicians wrongly associate statistical data to a disassociated problem. For example, an extremely large percentage of people who have cancer eat vegetables.

Weight loss has vastly more to do with energy balance than drinking diet soda or eating any certain type of food.

Steve—Spoken like a trainer…but oh so right! I have a grown daughter who works from home sits all day long, and never walks a step where she doesn’t have to.

This poor child got to TV before she was even 2 years old! And (how ironic is THIS) she would watch me doing exercises on the Jack LaLanne Show, and she would (when I asked her to) “Do like Mommy”) go back to playing with her one-year-old sister.

Before it became the thing to do that doctors test for “low-normal (LOL!)” thyroid hormone levels….most women had this one complaint, as did I:

“Dr. so-and-so— Here’s what I ate all last week from the time that I first opened my eyes until I closed them that night. How am I gaining weight?” The usual reply:

“You must be snacking without realizing it.”

One truly creative Dr suggested that I was “sleep-snacking”!

“On WHAT?” I burst out, “I don’t keep snacks in the house, I have to COOK EVERYTHING!” “Well,” he allowed uncomfortably, “how about leftovers”?

It was then that I knew that there was truly no help out there.

Later on I learned that my problem (and probably so many others who had the same problem in the 60s & 70s), was irregular estrogen releases from our ovaries. Seems childbirth screws EVERYTHING up in a lot of women, especially that!

Three years ago my family doctor started me on thyroid meds. Now I’m quite active naturally. He started me off at 75mcg. He upped it once a year. My weight started to budge when I was at 125mcg. I lost two pounds in six months. He immediately increased my dose to 150mcg, where I’ve been happily losing weight󈠛 pounds so far! Now back to my daughter–

This same doctor has raised her thyroid hormone to 120mcg. She DOES look slimmer but she assures me that she “hasn’t lost any weight”. She probably hasn’t “lost weight”. She HAS lost fat, though, it shows in her clothes. Why she hasn’t ‘lost weight’ is possibly because she’s eating stuff she might be allergic to.

She absolutely needs to get out of the house more, on her feet. She already has to walk with a cane because due to her inactivity her bones are literally disintegrating. I gave her Citrical and D3, but it hurts my heart to realize that this poor thing is walking with a cane at only age 53! And I’ll be 74 this year and I walk every chance I get!

Anyway. Do you think that there was maybe an underlying condition even back when she was 2, that caused her to prefer sitting to standing and walking and running around? The doctors all said what they always say (and it never seems to happen) “She’ll outgrow it”, I was earnestly told.

Well. Now she’s working from home and her husband really ‘cracks the whip’. She allowed that she’d like to retire from her job but he said that the family couldn’t afford for her to retire. She’s paying for a home, she has 2 beautiful kids, she pays for them, one of them got a scholarship to TCU and is now teaching German for the summer at the U of New Mexico—the husband goes to work at night and comes home in the morning. He’s a head case—he refused to take the SSRI that his Doctor advised him to take because “I don’t feel like myself when I take that stuff” (Wellbutrin).

I always cultivated a good relationship with all my inlaws. But this guy’s scary. He collects guns, because on his salary he can afford them since my daughter pays for everything. Recently he was worried that the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t care for him as well as my daughter’s insurance—which SHE has to pay for!

But somehow she won’t ditch this loser, and so she and her life are literally going down the drain. We all love her (she has 2 younger sisters, both of whom hate her husband with a passion as do all her friends)

I guess I’m saying that I’ll have to watch my daughter die, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that hurts…
and ALL BECAUSE OF A LACK OF EXERCISE! Oh yeah—her husband won’t even take her out for a walk. Can’t be bothered, I suppose. I’d take her myself but I live 50 miles from her and the gas is prohibitive.

Thanks for letting me vent.

I find it interesting that there seems to be a new sugar substitute released about every two years, and as you’ve mentioned it does seem to skew the way you interpret taste, as I find myself drawn to splenda rather than any other sweetener, real or artificial.

I do make it a point to have some natural sugar everyday, my personal preference is a fruit smoothie, and believe a lot of people could benefit from having their bodies digest more natural sugars.

I would like to see someone, hint hint, do a study/article on high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Really demystify them as it seems as though they have all been run through a political smear campaign. Sugar = diabetes artificial sweeteners = cancer high fructose corn syrup = obesity. I almost feel like I should be dropping two cubes of pineapple in my morning tea, unless I want to end an obese diabetic with cancer!

I personally prefer sugar over sweeteners because I find it safer besides I am not addicted to sweets so I think i am fine.

Numerous controlled trials have shown that consuming non-nutritive sweeteners can lead to weight loss one showed it worked better than drinking water.

However in the real world, people do sometimes choose a diet soda precisely so that they can use those calories later in the day for a dessert. This is called reverse causality by researchers, but I’d call it good planning.

Often the association between overweight and consumption of diet soda is because those wishing to lose weight start drinking non-caloric beverages. That might mess up a study, but as a dietitian I think it is a good idea.

Carol Meerschaert, MBA, RD
Consultant to food and beverage companies, including Coca-Cola

the studies that show a relationship between artificial sweeteners and chronic disease are observational and show weak associations at best – not a cause and effect relationships. also, the increase risk you quote is relative risk – not absolute risk. You should always show absolute risk which gives the reader a much more realistic (and usually much lower) view of the possible risk.

Although I agree with Beth Kitchin that you should give the absolute risk values as well (questions on operationalisation might arise here as well, but that’s another issue), I believe showing these correlations can be indicative of a relationship. Whether that’s indicative of a causal relationship is a completely different matter.

If you stop eating anything with animal fats, which would be to become a vegetarian, and then only eat organically grown vegetables, you MIGHT extend your life and/or prevent some ailments, though things will still happen due to aging. And then, after doing all of these healthy things, along with exercise, a lot of rest, etc., etc., YOU DIE! The best advice is to be somewhat moderate in things you do, don’t overeat, but do not restrict yourself to all the joys of life by being a diet nut, etc. Remember that there are some that live relatively unhealthy lives and live a long time, while there are others that live picture perfect so-called healthy lives that die off young. Genetics play a huge part regardless of choice of life styles.

I am a bit of a diet nut. At home, I eat mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and wild salmon. (When I go out I relax somewhat.) I also run more than 1,000 miles annually and get my sleep. My goal is to stay as healthy and fit as possible for as long as possible. I’ve seen the ravages of stroke, and aging generally, and I hope to avoid the first and slow the second. I’m so far doing well–the doc was extremely surprised by how well I performed on a stress test, at age 57. I realize I’m playing the odds, and that a meteor, a truck, or some disease could take me out. If that should happen, I’m not going to regret my choice.

Products made with low calorie sweeteners are not any sweeter than products made with sugar. While no-calorie sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, they are used in such miniscule amounts in foods and in table-top packets that the level of sweetness in the end product is roughly the same. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that low calorie sweeteners attenuate taste buds and/or cause a craving for sweetness. As the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics recently noted in their position paper, “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners,” the “liking of sweet taste is innate” and that “preference for sweet taste may be genetic.”(1)

In fact, research has shown that people who use low calorie sweeteners may actually have better quality diets than people who do not. One study found that people using low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages ate less total and saturated fat, cholesterol, energy, and added sugars, while consuming significantly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals from their foods.(2)

With regards to weight gain, robust scientific data have demonstrated that low calorie sweeteners can be a useful tool in strategies for lowering and/or maintaining body weight – a critical issue in today’s environment of excess calorie intake and overweight. Numerous studies have shown that low calorie sweeteners may assist individuals in losing weight, maintaining weight loss or reducing energy intake.(3) While there are occasional studies asserting the possibility of weight gain with use of low calorie sweeteners, these studies are commonly observational and not designed to show cause and effect In fact, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, in its review of studies on low calorie sweeteners, noted that, “A few observational studies reported that individuals who use non-caloric sweeteners are more likely to gain weight or be heavier. This does not mean that non-caloric sweeteners cause weight gain rather that they are more likely to be consumed by overweight and obese individuals.”(4)

The use of low-calorie sweeteners has been well studied both in humans and in animals. Such research includes evaluations of any possible long-term effects of use. Before approving the currently available low-calorie sweeteners, regulatory bodies world-wide determined that the low-calorie sweeteners are safe for all populations. Further, leading health groups such as the American Heart Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Diabetes Association support the safe use of low-calorie sweeteners.

The Surprising Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are consumed daily worldwide. They've been used for over 100 years, but are they safe&mdashor are they to blame for your weight-loss struggles and lackluster performance in the gym?

For decades now, we've been told to avoid added sugar it's nothing more than a disaster wreaking havoc on our waistline. But we crave sugary things, and the thought of removing them from our diet is almost unimaginable. So rather than settling on a diet of celery sticks and almonds, we created an alternative that contains all the sugary goodness of traditional sweeteners, but without the calories: artificial sweeteners.

Seems like the best creation since sliced bread, right? Not so fast. These zero-calorie chemicals, which are often added to foods and beverages marketed as weight-loss friendly, have received a lot of bad press lately. They're use is highly controversial, and they're blamed for just about everything from headaches, to weight gain, to cancer.

But what does the evidence say? Do they really have an effect on your weight, your overall health, and performance in the gym? Let's have a look!

History of Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are as old as dinosaurs. Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but they have been in existence since the late 1800s. It wasn't until about a hundred years ago that the controversy around artificial sweeteners started, and so began the debate on whether or not these sugary substitutes were healthy for human consumption.

President Theodore Roosevelt stated, "Anybody who says saccharin is injurious as an idiot" in response to controversy over saccharin usage in the United States. 1 Unfortunately, the wise words of the former president did little to quiet the debate over the use of sweeteners.

Over the years, more artificial sweeteners&mdashalong with more controversy&mdashhave made their way to the market in an effort to satisfy the human need for sweet-tasting foods while minimizing calorie consumption. There are six FDA-approved artificial sweeteners currently on the market: acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K), aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, neotame, and advantame. Stevia, another increasingly common sweetener, is on the market but not yet been approved by the FDA.

Safety of Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners were first tied to cancer in the 1970s when a study came out showing a combination of sweeteners, including saccharin, caused bladder cancer in lab rats. It wasn't until later that these findings were found to be specific to rats, who are inherently more susceptible to bladder cancer. Rats also have been shown to have increased bladder cancer with elevated vitamin C consumption. 11,13

In general, accusations of artificial sweeteners causing a myriad of health problems are commonly based upon animal-model studies or single case studies in which artificial sweetener consumption is far and above the recommended and realistic consumption in humans. 4,11 Studies often cited in the media give megadoses of artificial sweeteners to specific rat species&mdashnot exactly findings we can relate to the general population. 4,12

Even with all the bad press, the FDA has not been swayed by this information, and artificial sweeteners continue to stay on the shelves. The health problems reported have yet to be shown in large-scale human research, and to date there is no evidence supporting a connection between consumption of artificial sweeteners and disease.

That being said, in some cases there is evidence of headaches or migraines associated with sweetener consumption. 6,7 These occurrences are in some ways similar to food intolerance, but are more isolated and rare. Nonetheless, you should be aware of your individual response to artificial sweeteners before adopting them into your diet, especially prior to intense training or competition.

Can a Zero-Calorie Sweetener Really Make You Fat?

The average American consumes 22 teaspoons&mdashapproximately 350 calories&mdashof sugar daily. 2 Artificial sweeteners were originally created to decrease sugar consumption and aid in weight management. 3 So if they're purpose is to reduce calorie consumption and help you lose weight, why do we blame the zero-calorie sugary stuff for our constant struggle with the bulge?

Some argue that consumption of artificial sweeteners causes an unaddressed desire for calories, leading to compensatory eating and increased total calorie intake overtime. This theory likely originated as a correlation between increased body weight or body mass index and higher artificial-sweetener consumption. However, research has shown feelings of hunger are unchanged by artificial-sweetener consumption, despite total calorie consumption being less. 6,7

Even studies that have examined the effects of artificial versus natural sweeteners and voluntary food intakes reveal no differences in both acute and long-term calorie consumption. 8-10 In fact, several of these studies report that appropriate consumption of artificial sweeteners can actually be an advantageous strategy for weight reduction and improved control of blood glucose in diabetics. 7,8,10 At this point, any claims that associate artificial sweeteners and an increase in food intake do not appear to have scientific backing.

Sweeteners in Your Supplements

You may be able to resist adding a packet of Splenda or a splash of sugar-free creamer to your morning coffee, but could all of your efforts to avoid artificial sweeteners be erased by your pre-workout drink? Supplement companies are increasingly relying on artificial sweeteners for flavoring their products so the drinks can be low in calories while also tasting like a big glass of fruit punch.

It is important to know what you fuel your body with for optimal performance. Artificial sweeteners are not broken down like natural sweeteners, and many cannot be utilized for energy. 4,9 Therefore, they do not provide nutrients that fueling the body during exercise, nor do they present any added benefit when recovering from training by aiding in protein synthesis or replenishing glycogen stores.

Many common artificial sweeteners decrease blood glucose levels. Stevia, has specifically been shown to reduce blood glucose levels even when compared to other common sweeteners like aspartame. 10 Maintenance of blood glucose levels can be important during exercise to prevent declines in performance and cognitive function, especially during extended-duration exercise bouts. 14,15 Additionally, low blood glucose levels post-workout could impair the insulin response required for muscle growth and recovery after a hard training session. 16

An easy solution to this would be to supplement your post-workout protein shake with 30-50 grams of carbohydrates to maximize the anabolic response. This can easily be done with the addition of your favorite naturally sweetened granola bar, or even by simply mixing about 24 ounces of milk into your protein supplement.

Despite not being suitable to help provide fuel for exercise or contribute directly to improved recovery from training sessions, artificial sweeteners do have some beneficial qualities. For example, they can make your supplements taste better&mdashhave you ever tried unflavored BCAAs? Bleck. They can also help extend shelf life.

Take-Home Message

Overconsumption of natural sweeteners like sucrose and fructose can cause health issues including weight gain, metabolic disease, and dyslipidemia. 10,17 There are also upper limits to consumption of artificial sweeteners however, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for approved artificial sweeteners is nearly unattainable.

FDA regulations ensure that the artificial sweeteners available for consumption in America have not been proven dangerous when tested in human consumption. For example, aspartame has an ADI of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day in the United States, which translates into a 150-pound (70-kilogram) person consuming nearly 20 12-ounce soft drinks sweetened with aspartame! 4

Unless unflavored and unsweetened supplements are purchased deliberately, consumption of artificial sweeteners is inevitable. Most products that are marketed as having less sugar, reduced calories, or zero calories likely contain artificial sweeteners.

Remember: Everything in moderation. There's no reason you can't enjoy a guilt-free sweet treat and still reach your fitness and weight-loss goals!

  1. Van Ryzin, RJ, Legislation and Regulation. Toxicologic Pathology, 1977. 5(3): p. 23-23.
  2. Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., . & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health a scientific statement from the american heart association.Circulation, 120(11), 1011-1020.
  3. The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar Substitutes: How Much Is Too Much? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Whitehouse, C. R., Boullata, J., & McCauley, L. A. (2008). The potential toxicity of artificial sweeteners.AAOHN Journal, 56(6), 251-259.
  5. Nofre, C., & Tinti, J. M. (2000). Neotame: discovery, properties, utility.Food Chemistry, 69(3), 245-257.
  6. Fitch, C., & Keim, K. S. (2012). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(5), 739-758.
  7. Gardner, C., Wylie-Rosett, J., Gidding, S. S., Steffen, L. M., Johnson, R. K., Reader, D., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2012). Nonnutritive Sweeteners: Current Use and Health Perspectives A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.Diabetes Care, 35(8), 1798-1808.
  8. Raben, A., Vasilaras, T. H., Møller, A. C., & Astrup, A. (2002). Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on ad libitum food intake and body weight after 10 wk of supplementation in overweight subjects.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(4), 721-729.
  9. Brown, R. J., De Banate, M. A., & Rother, K. I. (2010). Artificial sweeteners: a systematic review of metabolic effects in youth.International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 5(4), 305-312.
  10. Anton, S. D., Martin, C. K., Han, H., Coulon, S., Cefalu, W. T., Geiselman, P., & Williamson, D. A. (2010). Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels.Appetite, 55(1), 37-43.
  11. Weihrauch, M. R., & Diehl, V. (2004). Artificial sweeteners&mdashdo they bear a carcinogenic risk?.Annals of Oncology, 15(10), 1460-1465.
  12. Fukushima, S., Arai, M., Nakanowatari, J., Hibino, T., Okuda, M., & Ito, N. (1983). Differences in susceptibility to sodium saccharin among various strains of rats and other animal species.Gan, 74(1), 8-20.
  13. Cohen, S. M., Anderson, T. A., de Oliveira, L. M., & Arnold, L. L. (1998). Tumorigenicity of sodium ascorbate in male rats.Cancer Research, 58(12), 2557-2561.
  14. American College of Sports Medicine, & American Dietetic Association. (2000). Joint Position Statement: nutrition and athletic performance. American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association, and Dietitians of Canada.Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(12), 2130.
  15. Wright, D. A., Sherman, W. M., & Dernbach, A. R. (1991). Carbohydrate feedings before, during, or in combination improve cycling endurance performance.Journal of Applied Physiology, 71(3), 1082-1088.
  16. Laron, Z. (2001). Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): a growth hormone.Molecular Pathology, 54(5), 311.
  17. Laville, M., & Nazare, J. A. (2009). Diabetes, insulin resistance and sugars.Obesity Reviews, 10(s1), 24-33.

About The Author

Richard LaFountain

Richard LaFountain is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

1. Myth: Intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight.

In the past few year, intermittent fasting has loomed large over the diet scene, with study after study suggesting its benefits for longevity, metabolism, weight loss, and more.

The eating plan limits food intake to a set time period each day or week. Biohackers and researchers alike have theorized that this provides some sort of inherent health boost, perhaps by giving your digestive system a break.

But according to a study this year, fasting doesn't seem to boost weight loss or other markers of health, if all other factors are equal. That suggests the previous benefits attributed to fasting might be due some other variable, such as reducing the calories you eat throughout the day.

That study, and the lead author's decision to forego fasting entirely afterward, is just one more piece of evidence that there's no single magic diet solution for health, as much as we might want to believe in one.