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How Sweet!! Our Relationship with Sweeteners

I was made to understand that these alternatives to sugar are the way to keep you slim & trim and they don’t cause insulin spikes. Is all of this for a good health!!  Well, Lets understand the mystery behind how the body reacts to such sweeteners.

Most mainstream doctors recommend that their overweight patients consume diet soda,Sugar free, Equal, Sweet-N-Low, etc. for weight loss, but in actual fact their advice causes the patients to crave calories Our relationship with sweeteners has always been questioned and debated till date about the right choice of sweetener. Substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar is an easy way to cut back on calories and lose weight, right? Not necessarily. Although sugar substitutes may help you maintain your weight after shedding pounds, they generally will not help you lose weight.
Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners tend to disrupt satiety,which causes overeating, spike the fat storing hormone insulin and lead to age-accelerating molecules and binge on unhealthy carbohydrates.

How the Body actually works
Your body will strive to maintain a calorie /energy distribution balance in order to face the demands its challenged with through a self-regulating mechanism, that measures the amount of energy (or calories) it can obtain from a particular meal.
Dieters typically deprive themselves of eating enough and are unable to meet the energy needs of your body to maintain such balance, So you will look for more food the next day, the day after, and so on. This leads to chronic overeating so you alternate your calorie demands with plenty of low-energy/calorie food into your intestinal tract, which your body is incapable of digesting and absorbing properly, it turns this food into fat and waste, and clogs up your lymphatic, digestive,and circulatory systems.
This is the time when your body signals “famine” leading you craving for foods, particularly  processed & refined carbohydrates such as ordinary sugar, chocolate, sweet beverages, coffee, etc.,which all give you an instant boost of energy. Since they contain only “empty” energy and just raise the sugar level in your blood for a short time. After a while the sugar levels drops below normal, which may cause depression, moodiness and exhaustion.

If you are overweight and believe that you can reduce weight by restricting calories, you will be very disappointed. Within a few days, your body will run out of energy and want to eat, hence the increased appetite or craving. If you still don’t eat enough, you will fall into a depression, which may cause you to binge on food ravenously. Your body believes that periodic famines are inevitable and tries to convert some of the food into fat deposits to prepare for the next one. After each “voluntary famine” or “weight reducing” diet, your body will put on weight much faster than it did before. This is what commonly known as the yo-yo effect.(Read GM diet)

Under normal circumstances, the body converts calories into heat, which then simply evaporates.The main source of this energy is stored in form of brown fat tissue, which is located near the large arteries and in the underarms, Does it make sense as to why you sweat when you are hungry or stressed. Research suggests that in obese people this mechanism is  not Well-circulated or disturbed and that the best dietary rules would not be applicable.
Abusing the body’s digestive system through such frequent methods of dieting may be the main cause of this problem.

Because artificial sweeteners are low-energy foods and non-physiological, the body deals with them in the same way as described above. It  doesn’t recognizes their presence as potential energy and signals “low energy/famine.” As a result, it stimulates the desire for more food. This principle is a well-known and commonly applied practice, both in the food industry and in animal feeding.
Animal feeds contain highly concentrated saccharin to stimulate the animal’s appetite so that they eat more frequently and grow fat faster. The same mechanism applies to the human body, including children. Children eating diet foods in lieu of the full-calorie versions may lead to overeating and obesity when they grow up.

When your body has received enough energy from the food you have eaten, then your  digestive system (mouth, stomach, intestines, and liver) signals to the brain that all energy requirements have been met. Subsequently, your nervous system secretes hormones that stop your desire for more food.

For instance, during any particular meal, you eat foods that contain very little energy than your required energy level, the body will tempt you to eat more during the next meal. This way, the body makes up for the loss of energy during the previous meal.
Also note that similar pattern is replicated when your digestive ability is low and you are not deriving sufficient energy from the food you eat.
Alternatively, when you eat food during one meal that has a higher calories than your body really requires at this moment, it will signal for less energy during the next meal.

How the Body is Manipulated
For both humans and animals, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and other sweeteners belong to the category of “sweet” food. The sweetness of natural foods is caused by sugar. Because sugar can move straight through the stomach walls, it will appear in the bloodstream within 3-5 minutes. However, the body has to keep the blood sugar level in check since too little or too much sugar can be dangerous. The body regulates sugar levels automatically through simple reflex mechanisms. When sugar touches the taste buds for the sweet taste on the tongue, the pancreas is
given the instruction to secrete insulin, which is required to make it (the sugar) available to the cells.

If you eat artificial sweeteners, the body naturally responds to their sweet taste by secreting insulin. Rather than receiving sugar in the blood as expected, however, it receives a combination of protein compounds. Doing its normal job, the pancreas has already prepared a portion of insulin that now floats about in the bloodstream searching for the expected sugar. Since it isn’t found there, the insulin removes some of the blood sugar instead. This effectively lowers your sugar levels. However, since this situation can be life-endangering, your body quickly signals “hunger” which becomes a sudden, strong “craving.” Since foods with artificial sweeteners are not able to meet the demand for an increase in blood sugar, you begin to crave for sugary foods.

Instead of saving the calories that are contained in ordinary sugar, you have artificially increased your need and appetite for more sweet food. If you try to satisfy this desire by eating more foods containing artificial sweeteners (without calories), the urge to eat will become even stronger than before and you will start overeating. Researchers have found that the urge to eat more food after ingesting artificial sweeteners in a drink can last up to 90 minutes, even when all blood tests show normal values.

A more serious situation arises when the body is given artificial sweeteners on an ongoing basis. Since the sweeteners repeatedly stimulate the taste buds responsible for detecting sugar, the brain maintains an almost continuous urge to eat. At the same time, the liver is instructed by the brain to store sugar supplies rather than to release them, which causes chronic fatigue.
The pancreas, which had wrongly assumed that real sugar was entering the bloodstream, eventually realizes that it has been cheated. Hence it reduces its secretion of insulin. One might think that this solves the problem but the body reacts with depression.

You may believe that the fewer calories you eat, the more weight you will lose. But food manufactures know that the more artificially sweetened foods and beverages you consume, the more you will want their normal sugar-containing foods and beverages as well. Diet foods and diet beverages have not only contributed to a massive increase in sugar consumption and obesity but also led to an epidemic of depression. I have seen numerous depressed people over the years, a large percentage of whom regularly used artificial sweeteners. By cutting out diet foods and “light”
products, they have returned to their normal moods, and they have lost excess weight, too.

In other words, the calories in a soft drink don’t cause a feeling of fullness in the way that calories from food do, promoting the “passive overconsumption” of calories and sugar.

Apart from causing obesity and depression, sweeteners have been linked to insomnia, headaches, giddiness, loss of memory, nausea, pre-menstrual syndrome, panic attacks, epileptic fits, and even over stimulation of breast glands leading to breast cancer. Aspartame in particular may cause extensive damage to the central nervous system.

Alternatives
Now after all that, if we can’t use artificial sweeteners, what can we use? Obvious! If we can’t use artificial sweeteners, then use natural sugar but use the right ones. The right ones won’t cause an insulin spike and are thus OK for diabetics. They won’t cause weight gain and they won’t play games with brain signals and cause upsets in leptin and ghrelin levels.
Here are some of Food Sweetener that Don’t Make You Fat

Honey
This kind of food that is made from bees contains many minerals and it is believed safe for someone who has allergy. Honey tastes sweeter than white sugar so just use 1/3. Honey is suitable as the sweetener for food that is stir fried or food that uses sauce, for example it can be poured when the food is already hot. Honey is also suitable mixed with lemon for salad dressing. But don’t pour honey while you still cook the food because it can be toxin.

Date palms
Date palms contain 60% of sugar and the level can be higher because of the dried process. Sugar date palms usually made from dried date palms that are softened so it becomes powder. Besides powder, there is also in liquid form. Add date palms sugar when you cook or make cake. The taste is unique and much sweeter than white sugar. So just add few of them.

Stevia
It is grown for its sweet leaves and its extracts are about 300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a naturally occurring sugar substitute. It is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms.
Beside plants, our own bodies make about 15 grams of xylitol every day in our normal metabolic processes. The upshot is that it is absolutely safe for human consumption.

TRIVIA:  

  • Leptin a protein hormone with important effects in regulating body weight, metabolism and reproductive function. the gatekeeper of fat metabolism, monitoring how much energy an organism takes in.
  • Leptin’s effects on body weight are mediated through effects on hypothalamic centers that control feeding behavior and hunger, body temperature and energy expenditure. If leptin is absent, feeding is uncontrolled and relentless.
  • Obese people had a sever resistance to Leptin, and that would explain why they have such a hard problem losing weight.
  • Ghrelin is a hormone that is secreted by the stomach and triggers the brain to promote eating. Thinner people have higher levels of ghrelin production during certain nighttime hours which is lacking in people who suffer from obesity.
  • Ghrelin is thought to be the counterpart of the hormone leptin, produced by fat tissue. Leptin induces satiation when present at high levels

These hormones are related to weight loss as well as to our sleep patterns and in some ways form the link between our internal urges to sleep and to eat.

If you wish to protect yourself and your family from the dreadful consequences of such sweeteners and actually benefit from the foods you eat, start with fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

BeWell,
Vivek

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