Mind/Body Nutrition Coaching by Aline Vann

Artificial Sweeteners and the Weight Connection


Artificial Sweeteners –

They May Be the Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight.

Do you use artificial sweeteners to “save” calories in an effort to lose weight?  

Maybe you simply use these sweeteners because you like the taste. Many of us have been using them for years.  I had my first Diet Coke in college. I did drink regular Coke on occasion before that, but Mom didn’t buy them at home, so I didn’t drink them very often, and didn’t really think much about them.


Diet Coke was different.  I REALLY liked it. As I progressed through my 20s and 30s, I began to crave it more and more. Sometimes I would go through months of abstinence, but other times, I would drink as many as three or four cans per day.


Do you ever pop a piece of gum in your mouth?  I liked gum too. Gum contains aspartame – the same artificial sweetener in Diet Coke.  You will find it in almost all of the sugar free gum available in traditional stores.


For me, the aspartame in the gum had the same effect as the diet coke. I went through a lot of it.  I would crave that initial burst of sweetness, but as soon as it was gone, I would want a fresh piece.


Do you like starting off your day with a cup of Joe? Do you prefer Splenda or Equal in your morning coffee instead of real sugar.? Again, to save calories. It sounds good, because we are already adding calories with our cream. It’s a way of keeping that coffee from being a high calorie indulgence!


If it’s calorie free, we can add all we want!


Perhaps you use Stevia because it is “natural.”  Remember the Splenda in my coffee? Later, I switched to Stevia because it was supposedly healthier.  However, I felt the same way.  I just seemed to need to add more and more to my coffee to get the same level of sweetness…and the same level of satisfaction.  


If this sounds familiar, the experts say we are not alone.  There is a lot of research that shows that this is one of the big problems with artificial sweeteners.  


Studies have found that artificial sweeteners affect the body in several ways.  When your body tastes the sweetness, it expects calories, and initiates hormonal and metabolic reactions. When those calories (energy) don’t come, your body is confused, and things are thrown out of whack.


These artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than natural sugar, which explains why things that are naturally sweet no longer taste sweet enough.


I didn’t like the way these artificial sweeteners made me “crave” sweetness.  


Of course, there are many people that cite studies showing that artificial sweeteners cause side effects that are much more detrimental than weight gain.  There is plenty of information online if you want to read more about this.


If you are consuming a lot of artificial sweeteners, I would definitely recommend you find out more.


Some people will tell you that you should never, ever consume any of these sweeteners, and while I am not here to tell you what to do, I will say that you should be very careful if you are using them.    


Listen to your body. Trust your intuition.


One more thing…If weight loss is your goal, then know this. There is a great deal of research out there that has shown that artificial sweeteners DO NOT help people lose weight.


So what should you do instead?


That’s up to you, but here is what I did.  I switched to real sugar.


I actually prefer to use sucanat, which is a less processed form of sucrose, commonly known as table sugar.  Because I am aware of the impact of too much sugar, I find myself being more careful about how much I use than I was with artificial sweeteners.  


So, I am not saying you should add heaping spoonfuls of sugar to everything you eat and drink.  


Here’s what I DO mean.


I drink two cups of coffee each day, and put a teaspoon of sucanat in each. Occasionally, I will drink a cup of tea in the afternoon, with one more teaspoon.


Will it make a difference?  Try it for two weeks and see how you feel.


I have noticed that since I quit using artificial sweeteners, I don’t have the cravings that I had before. It’s a really good feeling. When I was using artificial sweeteners, including Stevia, my body got to where it expected a sweetness that was unnaturally sweet.


It wasn’t a sweetness found in nature. It was a sweetness that could only be made in a lab.


If you prefer to avoid Sucrose, but still want a natural sweetener for your smoothies, coffee, tea, etc., try pure maple syrup, honey or dates.


Worried about your sweet tooth? One of the BEST ways to satisfy your body’s craving for sweets is to get it the way nature intended…by eating plant based foods like fruits and root vegetables.  Once your body resets its “sweet meter”, these will begin to again taste delicious, and plenty sweet.  


And of course, you’ll always have dark chocolate. 


If you do choose to use Stevia, try to eat it in its natural form…a leaf!  Read more about Stevia here.



This is a great article about weight and artificial sweeteners: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/19/artificial-sweeteners-could-be-sabotaging-your-diet/


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