It?s common knowledge that losing unhealthy weight by reducing caloric intake is a good idea, but a way to make the process easier isn?t clear. One of the suggested ways to lose unhealthy pounds is to substitute sugar (which is rich in calories) with artificial sweeteners, which have almost no calories. The idea became so popular, that even traditional makers of sweet soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi decided to introduce drinks with artificial sweeteners. The idea worked, people liked artificial sweeteners so much that they are now in more than 6000 food products and beverages worldwide, including (but not limited to) soft drinks, juices, cereals, chewing gum, etc. The yearly production of artificial sweeteners is in the thousands of tons, bringing their manufacturers millions of dollars in revenue. When I decided to lose weight myself, I started using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. I was using aspartame with my tea, and drinking diet soda instead of regular, but I didn?t get what I had hoped for: I did not shed even a single pound! Instead, I had an unwanted problem: I was going to the bathroom too much. I was puzzled: there were no water pills in diet soda, and there was no other health condition that made me go to the bathroom. There was just one explanation left; I was drinking too much diet soda! I felt like I became addicted to it, but I couldn?t understand why. At that time the only thing was clear: it was the food companies that were benefiting from diet soda, not me.
To get to the bottom of the problem I decided to investigate. I thought that perhaps there is an additive in diet soda that gave me a craving for it. I checked the label, but didn?t find anything suspicious: Aspartame, artificial coloring, water... I knew that Aspartame was approved by the FDA and that made me feel safe, but there still wasn?t answer.
I came up with another theory: maybe it?s the local water from diet soda that made me go to the bathroom too often. But I was wrong: I went to a completely different region of the US, but was still craving diet soda. So, it wasn?t water that made me crave diet soda. Being unable to answer my question, I stopped drinking soft drinks and using artificial sweeteners altogether. However, my patients were asking me about artificial sweeteners every day. I did not know how to answer, so I continued to investigate.
Then, I made a startling discovery. Artificial sweeteners trigger the same insulin response because of their sweet taste! Now I realized that because aspartame and other artificial sweetener are hundreds of times as sweet as sugar, it is perceived by our body as a something that needs insulin! But having insulin levels go up without any sugar is even worse than with real sugar, because high insulin levels lead to low blood sugar. This creates an enormous appetite and craving for sweets. Unfortunately, it was only part of the problem. In fact, a recent study showed that our brain (not taste receptors), can still tell the difference between real sugar and substitutes. While secreting unnecessary insulin, our body still craves real sugar! Also, you give yourself permission to drink more diet soda because it doesn?t have the same amount of calories (as per addiction psychiatrist in Dallas Harold Urschel). Now I knew why I was craving diet soda! I was drinking it too often. That is why I was going to the bathroom all the time and couldn?t lose weight! But that wasn?t all - I learned that the Aspartame component Aspartic Acid was linked to tumors. Can you imagine: an increased cancer risk for my own money?
It?s simple: aspartame consists of 3 elements ? the amino acid ?Phenylalanine?, excitatory neurotransmitter ?Aspartic Acid?, and the deadly alcohol ?Methanol?. Even official recommendations suggest that too much Phenylalanine may be dangerous to your brain. What Aspartic acid does is excite your brain cells ? your neurons. What if it over excites the neurons? If you are given too much work you may die. Could the same thing happen to your brain cells -- neurons? What about Methanol? It is notoriously known as a poison that first hits your vision by damaging your optic nerve, and then poisons your whole body. But that?s not all: Aspartic acid metabolite ?Diketopiperazine? (DKP) is known to cause cancer. This is not just a theory: the Italian Ramazzini Foundation study proved that Aspartame is linked to different types of cancer. Another study showed that using artificial sweeteners was actually leading to gaining weight instead of losing it.
However, all of this did not match with FDA approval. As per the FDA, Aspartame is the most studied artificial sweetener in the world with an excellent safety record. The FDA discarded the Ramazzini study report because this study interpreted hyperplasia as a cancer growth. This statement was supported by the fact that the Ramazzini Foundation refused to submit to FDA the histologic evidence. Moreover, the FDA said that this study was wrong, because in this study they examined mice after they died naturally, instead of sacrificing mice at about ? of their life span. In other words, as per the FDA if you want to find cancer: you?d better study youngsters. Is it because young individuals have more cancer then elderly? Not to my knowledge, because it takes many years for cancer to fully develop and be detected. What I learned from this story was that if you want to prove that carcinogens do NOT cause cancer - - study youngsters, because in this case the cancer doesn?t have enough time to fully develop to be detected. They also proved that Aspartame does NOT cause high insulin levels. The funny thing is: this study was done on only 7 participants, instead of the usual hundreds of thousands.
Moreover, they gave Aspartame via a tube, directly into the stomach. Why? Is it because our taste receptors, which sweet taste - are located into our month, not our stomach? So who is right? The FDA with multiple studies, backing up Aspartame safety, or anti- Aspartame activists with the Ramazzini Foundation study, flawed by the refusal to make histologic findings public? Or maybe it doesn?t make any sense to even study the safety of Aspartame, because in its pure form it may be benign, but become dangerous with the conjunction of other foods or health conditions? Or maybe it causes cancer only if heated while cooking or storage? I was desperately looking for an answer, but I could not find any. I almost gave up. Suddenly, I came up with an idea: instead of blaming each other of conspiracy or fraud, why don?t we use our common sense? What we definitely know is that cancer reached epidemic proportions. What we also know is that our body?s genetics didn?t change, hence we are the same. And it is highly unlikely that we get cancer from the air or water. What definitely changed is what we eat, the percentage of processed foods rose dramatically. Another startling addition to our environment: electromagnetic smog.
Maybe it isn?t only processed food itself, but also what it does to our digestive and other systems including endocrine, immune and detoxification systems? Maybe it is time to stop blaming each other and pinpointing to Aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, and start eating natural food? Maybe it?s time to say to yourself: if you want to be almost free of cancer like our ancestors were, maybe we should eat what they did, maybe we should stay on the beach and have fun more than we do now, maybe we should go to bed with sun down and get up with sunrise, maybe we shouldn?t use cell phones that often and stay away from cell phone tower. Maybe we should live like a big family instead of fighting with each other? What do you think?
1. Jang, H. -J.; Kokrashvili, Z.; Theodorakis, M. J.; Carlson, O. D.; Kim, B. -J.; Zhou, J.; Kim, H. H.; Xu, X. et al. (2007). "Gut-expressed gustducin and taste receptors regulate secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (38): 15069? 15074.
2. Neuroimage. 2008 Feb 15;39(4):1559-69. Epub 2007 Nov 19. Sucrose activates human taste pathways differently from artificial sweetener. Frank GK, Oberndorfer TA, Simmons AN, Paulus MP, Fudge JL, Yang TT, Kaye WH.
3. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/01/diet.soda.health/index.html? eref=rss_health&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss %2Fcnn_health+%28RSS%3A+Health%29
6. DeNoon, Daniel J. Reviewed by Charlotte Grayson Mathis MD. "Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight? Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink", WebMD Medical News (2005), accessed 2007-06-25