A new study has finally been released that showed drinking sucralose (and I believe any other artificial sweetener) significantly affects the way the body functions-or doesn’t. For example, although there are no calories (read: no fuel for energy!) in Splenda®, it had the following effects on people when they drank water sweetened with it:
12% higher peak blood glucose levels.
20% higher total insulin secretion.
22% faster insulin-secretion rate.
7% slower rate of clearing insulin from the blood.
I’m not even going to begin to address the issue of toxicity and chemical stress from artificial sweeteners here; I’ll do that in other posts, and have done several questions and comments about it on my website that will eventually migrate here as well. The new discussion is that taste buds (and we know now that there are taste receptors in the gut, too) trigger the production of insulin. Your body responds, makes it, and then has to figure out what to do once it gets into the bloodstream since insulin isn’t necessary for processing artificial sweeteners. Refined sugar has a similar effect since it can enter the bloodstream through the cell walls; unlike naturally-occurring sugars in, say, a strawberry, it doesn’t require digestion for extraction. That’s the essence of “insulin resistance”, which is the newest buzzword in the sugar sagas connected to the American diabetes epidemic. The surplus insulin causes stress leading to exhaustion of the adrenal glands-as if we didn’t have enough other stresses in our lives- since they have to produce the hormone to break down the excess insulin; it also leads to the chronic inflammation researchers are blaming for everything from obesity to cancer.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of most of the so-called “natural” sweeteners, either, and this study would probably apply to them as well. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a highly refined extract that causes stomach upset in lots of people, including me. Stevia is fine if you use it fresh or as a green powder (just the dried leaves) or liquid; if it is clear it has also been through a long list of refining treatments that make it about as healthy and natural as vodka, which “just comes from potatoes”! High fructose corn syrup is also considered a “natural sweetener”.
The real problem is that Americans simply want things too sweet. Even agave, honey, molasses, and maple syrup, which really are consumed essentially in their natural state, should be used in really moderate amounts. I am constantly encouraging my clients to eat more raw, fresh foods. The fiber they contain slows down the release of the sugars, and the full range of flavor slows down the demand for sweetness. Organic fruits usually have more taste; it’s trace elements that give them flavor and organic fertilizers have a wider range of nutrients than commercial ones. Protein also slows the release of sugar; if you have to have a chocolate chip cookie, have one made with whole wheat pastry flour (more fiber and protein than white flour but made from softer Spring wheat) and nuts for extra protein. When I bake I use Sucanat®, which is just dried, unrefined sugar cane juice, and use less than the recipe calls for. Because none of the molasses has been removed it has a really rich flavor. Friends and I make baked goods for an eighteenth century re-enactment every year-people LOVE our products and we make the above substitutions, which are period-correct! (Check out my “Three Wives Kitchen Cookbook“, which goes into great detail about healthy period ingredients.)
You can read the article citing the study at the link below. Bottom Line Health is one of my favorite newsletters for quick info.