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The Bitter Side of Sweet: Diabetes and Artificial Sweeteners

18 11 2015 0 Comment

Diabetes – such common a condition in today’s society that I doubt it even needs an introduction.

In a nutshell, diabetes is the mismanagement of the body’s ability to control blood sugar. In most cases this can occur in one of two ways – or “types”:

Type 1 – an autoimmune condition

  • The body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin
  • NO method of prevention
  • NOT brought on by lifestyle

Type 2 - a metabolic disorder

  • The body’s inability to use the insulin it produces
  • CAN BE preventable
  • CAN BE brought on by lifestyle

For type 2 diabetics, the cells of the body are not responding to insulin – otherwise known as insulin resistance. The role of insulin is to lower blood sugar levels by regulating the rate in which glucose is taken up by the cells of the body. Insulin resistance can develop over time when the body is exposed to high levels of sugar in the diet that it just simply cannot keep up.

So naturally one might think that by replacing sugar with zero calorie man made chemically sweetened toxic crap such as Splenda or Aspartame, one may be better equipped to manage their blood sugar, right?

Wrong.

Our brain is hardwired to associate sweet with calories. When the calories don’t show up, our inherent biological reaction is to go and find them- so in other words, our brain quite literally sends us on a hunt for sugar (i.e. cravings!).

This reaction (and subsequent junk food feast) directly contributes to insulin imbalance and resulting blood sugar fluctuations, all the while increasing fat storage. Yep, you heard that right – WEIGHT GAIN. Another function of insulin is to control fat storage, so if your insulin levels are high, it is also likely you will have an easier time gaining weight and a much more difficult time losing it.

So the next time you think that you are doing yourself a favour by reaching for that zero-calorie food or drink, remember that even though they may not technically contain sugar, they can still have the same effect on blood sugar that actual sugar does, or worse. These charming chemicals can also tend to come with a whole slew of additional gnarly side effects including nausea, headaches, breakouts and mood disorders.

Not so sweet now, huh?

Guest Post by Alex Nucci

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