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Effects of artificial sweeteners

One of the biggest ailments in the 21st century is definitely obesity.  This is perhaps due to our life style of too much stress, too little physical activity and exercise, less sleep and more fatty foods (such as fast foods or grease fried foods).  All of the factors combined above create a volatile combination that is guaranteed to create mayhem in our body and cause many people to be obese and overweight.    Thus, more and more people are on a diet or some kind of an exercise program to try to lose some of that extra weight and become leaner and trimmer.  Of course, from the people that we see around us, they don’t seem to be having too much success.  Although, there are score of reasons why this is so, perhaps one of the reasons may be the artificial sweeteners that almost everyone who wants to lose weight seems to be using.

As contradictory as it may sound, recent research shows this to be a real possibility.  Many people especially in the last 50 years have been using some sort of a sweetener in their drinks such as aspartame or saccharin.  Almost in every restaurant that you go to, they will bring you Sweet & Low or some other sweetener with sugar.  Nowadays Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi seem to be selling as much as normal soft drinks.  Although the idea behind drinking soft drinks with sweetener is the fact that you gain less calories; newfound research shows that this may interfere with the body’s natural ability to sense calories through sweetness.  This causes further imbalance in the natural processes in our body and these processes cause the body to seek out more sweets and more food to gain the calories that it needs.

Although this may sound complicated, actually it is simpler than it looks.  For thousands of years, the human body has evolved to become a perfect machine with many bodily functions that are connected to each other.  Our bodies seem to be self regulatory and our bodies seem to compensate for the changes in our life style and environment.    One of the processes in our body is to sense the amount of calories that may be entering our bodily system and thus lowering the food intake due to the feeling of fullness.    In short, this means that when you eat sugary and sweet foods, your body automatically sends a message of fullness to your brain and thus you stop eating further.  This system has actually worked for thousands of years.

Then you might be wondering then why more and more people are becoming more obese every day, since theoretically using artificial sweeteners in sweet foods and drinks should reduce our calorie intake.  However, in real life, recent statistics shows that people are gaining even more weight than before.  That’s why researches from University of Maryland and University of Purdue wondered when they started to research this phenomenon.

The first test was conducted on rats.  The rats were separated into two control groups.  One of the control groups was given artificially sweetened drinks and foods.  The second control group was given normally sweetened foods with natural sugar.  Then after in taking these foods, the both control groups were given the same foods to eat.  In the research, scientists quickly saw that the rats in the control group that had eaten sugar substitutes and food with artificial sweeteners; ended up eating more food in the second round.  However, the rat control group that was eating normal sugar and normal sweet foods ended up eating less on the second round.  This experiment showed that the rat’s brain in the first control group did not get the signal to eat less, since they were eating artificially sweetened foods.  Thus their brains did not register that they had eaten enough and they proceeded to eat more in the second round.  However, the control group that did not have artificial sweeteners in their food, ended up eating less, since their brain hunger receptors received a signal of fullness from the sugar that their body was taking in.  Although, this experiment concentrated on lab rats, the primary principle behind this mechanism seems to be the same and in fact, it is applicable to humans.

The psychologists at the University of Maryland have concluded that the same mechanism applies to humans and in greater force as well.  When we drink artificial sweeteners, our mind is tricked into thinking that we are not receiving the calories that we need.  Therefore, when we see other food, this causes our body to over indulge itself.  In fact, using artificial sweeteners messes up our body mechanism so much, that in the end we end up eating more foods and taking more calories than we are supposed to.

So then what should we do?  First of all, we need to keep abreast of our eating activities.  Unlike rats or other laboratory animals, we do not live by instincts alone.  We have intelligence and we can use our intelligence to control our instincts.  When you take artificial sweeteners, you end up losing your bodily balance.  However, by reading the labels and by controlling our instincts to over indulge ourselves in food, it is possible to break this cycle and end up losing weight in the process.

In short, losing weight is not a simple thing.  It requires caution and intelligent assessment of your situation.  Artificial sweeteners have been around for decades now.  With the information at hand, it is possible to use them sensibly and lose weight in the process.  This means that you will need to exercise control over your eating.  If possible, don’t use any artificial sweeteners and cut back on carbonized soft drinks.  In fact, sensible eating and a rudimentary exercise plan could perhaps help you more than any artificial sweetener can.  By controlled eating and by stop eating fatty foods and stop drinking soft drinks, you can actually lower your calorie intake more than just relying on artificial material.

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