Whenever we sponsor a free dinner seminar, I always ask the restaurant to NOT offer any artificial sweeteners to our guests.  Why do I do that?  Well, you are about to find out about the dangers of eating and drinking artificially sweetened products.

Over the years, an ever-growing number of studies have shown artificial sweeteners raise your risk of both obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes – perhaps even to a greater degree than sugar does.

It is important to realize that while artificial sweeteners have no (or very few) calories, they are still metabolically active.  In addition to the sweet taste receptors on your tongue, you also have sweet taste receptors in your gut which release signaling molecules into your bloodstream in response to sweet taste, thereby triggering your pancreas to release insulin in preparation for a glucose spike.  The artificial sweetener basically tricks your body into storing fat by raising your insulin level, even though the sugar never arrives.  Sweet taste without calories also increases appetite.

More importantly, artificial sweeteners have significantly different effects on your gut microbiome than sugar.  While sugar is detrimental because it tends to feed health-harming microbes, artificial sweeteners could easily be considered the worst of the two, as they have been shown to be downright TOXIC to gut bacteria.

Sucralose [Splenda] was shown to reduce gut bacteria by as much as 50%, preferentially targeting bacteria known to have important human health benefits.  And it’s not just sucralose -ALL currently approve artificial sweeteners disrupt the gut microbiome.  In fact, Aspartame and acesulfame potassium-k were both found to cause DNA damage.

In related news, diet beverages are linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack.  The risk is particularly high for women with no previous history of heart disease, those who are obese and/or African-American women.

It is pretty obvious – drinking pure water instead of no-calorie sweetened beverages is by far the safest and healthiest low-calorie drink there is.  If you want some flavor, just squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon or lime into mineral water.

Some healthier sugar substitutes include Stevia and Lo Han Kuo [also spelled Luo Han Guo].  Stevia is a highly sweet herb from the leaf of the South American stevia plant.  The Lo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries and it’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar.  A third alternative is to use pure glucose – also known as dextrose.  Dextrose is only 70% as sweet as sugar.  It doesn’t contain any fructose whatsoever.  Contrary to fructose, glucose [Dextrose] can be used directly by every cell in your body and as such is a safer sugar alternative.

So now you know why there will never be pink, blue or yellow packets at my dinner talks.  It’s because I love you and care about your health!!!!