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By Valerie Robitaille

Many in the nutrition field are keenly aware of the fact that using artificial sweeteners actually causes obesity. Here’s the scoop: Aspartame actually stimulates the appetite. It contains phenylalanine which overpowers another natural brain chemical (dopamine) that helps you feel satiated, which in turn suppresses another neurotransmitter (tyrosine) which suppresses appetite. To add insult to injury, this action leads to another effect that robs us of our “feel good” hormone (serotonin).  When we are low in these vital brain substances we automatically reach for refined carbohydrates (sugars) for the instant fuel it provides us. But most of us on the battle-of-the-buldge-merry-go-round know that there is a price to pay for this as well: crash! Usually in mid-late afternoon. Then we need more sugar to keep us going, so we end up eating throughout the day and night – all because we thought erroneously that drinking that diet soda would help us stave off the cravings.

What a mess! And, I’ve not even mentioned the effect of these practices on insulin and blood sugar, and the exhausting chain of events this creates, adding to our weight problems. There’s more on aspartame that has been scientifically proven to make us hungry (which is why food manufacturer’s add it to their products), but I will stop here and let you do the research if you are interested.

Sucralose, the new favorite “natural” sweetener has been reported in nutrition circles to have more in common with DDT than food. This synthetic compound was stumbled upon in 1976 by British researchers trying to develop a pesticide. Sucralose is actually a sugar molecule with chlorine instead of hydrogen and oxygen in 3 places. While many will argue that just because it has chlorine in it doesn’t make it toxic, I prefer not to ingest something I use to clean my bath tub with, and find out down the road (like so many other drugs and substances <align=alignright”>

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on the market) that it causes cancer, heart attacks, liver disease, strokes and/or death.

Saccharin and sugar alcohols have their own sets of dangers, but the point I’m trying to make here is the fallacy that using artificial sweeteners help control weight.  I’ve never actually seen a thin person drink the amounts of diet soda I’ve seen heavier people drink. They may exist, but I’ve not seen them. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that must pass through the already overburdened (due to chemicals in the environment) detoxifying organs, and when these organs get congested in this way the liver does not metabolize fat properly.  I think this is the first time in history that we are seeing a fatty liver due to diet (American).  In my weight loss group I talk about the liver’s job in keeping us thin, healthy and safe using sugar substitutes such as agave nectar, and how to get rid of those awful cravings that plague many of us once and for all (how to replenish tyrosine and serotonin, and bring the blood sugar/insulin levels back to normal).

Since many of us believe that low-sugar or artificially sweetened products are the healthier choices we consume them regularly, if not excessively. It is so important that you realize they are causing the problems they are marketed to cure. As I’ve said before, good marketing of a product does not mean that product is healthy, and in the case of artificial sweeteners, the paradox can be deadly.

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