Stop pulling a Lucy on your body...have the Lagom amount of sugar

The Problem

We all remember Lucy pulling the football making Charlie Brown wipeout.

We all remember Lucy pulling the football making Charlie Brown wipeout.

When you consume artificial sweeteners you are not just pulling a Lucy on your digestive system but on your entire body.

Believe it or not, digestion doesn't just begin when food first hits your stomach or mouth.  At the scent or sight of food, your salivary glands begin to increase production.  This begins the digestive pathway.  Your stomach begins to growl, enzymes are released, insulin production begins and your body prepares to take in and break down energy for utilization.  With artificial sweeteners, all of this effort and all the energy your organs are relying on go for naught and actually stress the body to produce its own energy.  Studies have shown that the stress hormone, cortisol, is increased in regular consumers of these artificial sweeteners.  Yes that ugly hormone, that disturbs sleep, decreases concentration, and causes belly fat among other things.  In addition, studies have shown that the reward center in the brain is not stimulated following consumption of artificial sweeteners, leading to increased hunger and overeating in the future.

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The artificial sweetener market is an $8billion per year market and growing every year.  It continues to grow along with the diabetes epidemic.  It seems like every 2-3 years, there is a new found artificial sweetener that is healthier and more natural than its predecessors.  The reaction is the same every time.  The public devours it like they haven't eaten for days, studies come out how it is actually bad for you, the consumer continues to fight obesity more and more, then they try the newest sweetener fad. 

The Facts

  • There are now 5 widely used artificial sweeteners on the market
  • Artificial sweeteners are significantly cheaper than natural sugars making their use more profitable for food and drug companies
  • Artificial sweeteners have very long shelf lives compared to traditional sugars
  • There are over 6,000 food products on the market with artificial sweeteners
  • Humans have evolved to digest and process many types of sugars and rely on it for energy
  • Stevia is the fastest growing artificial sweetener, presumably has the same endocrine problems and has many trade names (Stevia, Truvia, PureVia)

The Argument

Artificial sweeteners have a very limited role in food and medicine.  Tricking the body that it is going to get an energy source and then pulling it away stresses the body and may be a significant contributor to diabetes, depression, insomnia, lethargy, and weight gain. 

Due to low cost of artificial sweeteners and public perception that it is healthier than consuming calories, it is going to become more and more difficult to determine the risks and benefits of using them over traditional sugars.  

As studies continue to evolve, artificial sweeteners will soon be viewed as one of the greatest contributors to weight gain and diabetes. 

Raw honey and pure cane sugar in moderation are the two best sweeteners.  Raw honey in particular actually offers many health benefits.   *Warning: Raw Honey should never be given to infants due to serious health risks**   

The Solution

  • Read labels for artificial sweeteners
  • Only allow for artificial sweeteners in products that are not a meal/snack substitute (i.e. cough medicine, vitamins, mouth wash)
  • Use raw honey as a sweetener when possible
  • Pure cane sugar is not lethal but should be consumed in moderation.  Or as we like to say, the Lagom amount.

About the Author

Kirk Heil    

Kirk Heil