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Sugar Substitutes

Source: Dr. Richard F. Heller and Dr. Rachael F. Heller

Sugar substitutes may “fool” the body calorie-wise, but they cannot deceive the body’s insulin response. Though they are short on calories they can, nevertheless, cause an excess release of insulin and the cravings and weight gain that usually follow.

The rule of thumb is this: if it tastes sweet, your body thinks it is getting sugar. If your body thinks that it is getting sugar, your body releases insulin, and if you are prone to releasing too much insulin, then anything that tastes sweet, no matter how “low-calorie” it is, can lead to increased cravings and weight gain.

If you think that diet sodas and “sugarless” gums, mints, and candies can give you a “free ride” on the road to weight loss, you are in for a bumpy ride to nowhere. Sugar substitutes may seem to cut calories at the moment you consume them, but if you are carbohydrate addicted, they can trigger a heightened insulin response that will soon drive you to high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods.

Even if you are somehow able to successfully and repeatedly fight off your carbohydrate cravings, we have found that frequent intake of sugar substitutes may put your body in a fat-making mode, making it easier to gain and more difficult to lose weight.

Ounce for ounce, fructose (fruit sugars) and high-fructose sweeteners (which, despite their name, can be made from glucose) carry the same calorie value as table sugar and, when consumed often, appear to cause the same insulin response. The former Surgeon General of the United States has noted that for “carbohydrate-sensitive individuals” fructose may lead to increased health-related risks.

For now, be aware that anything that tastes sweet, high-calorie or low-, can set off your insulin trigger.