This may sound like a weird title… but let it be known, all of it is true so if you are or know someone who drinks diet drinks or eats diet food with sugar substitutes, listen up and spread the news.
A friend of mine asked me to write this blog since she took her son who has diabetes (in this case I but if you are II listen up even more!) to a doctor visit and the doctor said: You need to drink diet drinks! Well… so let me tell you about diet drinks and sugar substitutes in general since so few doctors follow new research and remain clueless as the doctor my friend went to.
Here is one prime article for you to read if you are scientifically inclined and have access to PubMed. In case you don’t, let me just copy paste one partial sentence from the Results section: “…Glucose excursions were similar after ingestion of carbonated water and diet soda. Serum insulin levels tended to be higher after diet soda…” so diet soda, meaning sugar substitutes release insulin as if one ate real sugar. So if that is the case, why are we to believe that we actually don’t gain weight and do not become diabetic eating food with sugar substitutes?
In case you are still laughing and don’t think what I am saying is serious, you may want to read the article from the Huffington Post or perhaps you prefer a different variety from a diabetes special website. There are hundreds of articles out there about diet stuff causing or worsening diabetes and even causing obesity but few agree or provide a plausible explanation. I believe I have one based on the many books I read–albeit I must add that this is not my field–my field is neuroscience–but it is an interesting stuff to bite into.
So why would diet drink increase diabetes II? Very simple in my opinion: artificial sweeteners were manipulated to taste sweet and so they resemble the chemical structure of sugar without being sugar. But insulin does not know that. It senses sugar like chemicals in the blood and releases insulin to place the sugar into fat deposits for later consumption by the brain and the muscles as sugar. The problem is that hard as it may, it cannot find sugar in the blood so it just floats around in circles, flooding the blood, creating or enhancing insulin resistance. It is a Cry Woolf kind of story. The more sugar is announced and the more insulin shows up but there is no sugar to be packed away, the body will start ignoring the presence of insulin. THIS is called insulin resistance, a.k.a. diabetes II.
Now if you have diabetes I you cannot release insulin at all so these inorganic substances imitating to be sugars pretty soon metabolize into toxins in your body that will need to be empties through your kidneys or detoxified through your liver. Neither is a good option since the toxin may remain in the liver or hurt your kidneys, ending up with a lot of problems.
Why does artificial sweetener make one obese? The answer is a bit more complicated than insulin release but is connected to it. The job of insulin is to convert the food you eat into fat deposits that then later Leptin (a hormone) can convert back to sugar to the brain and signal that the brain had its fill and stop making sugar conversion now from the fat. But there is no sugar… so the Leptin is also into Cry Woolf mode since every time there is fake sugar, it releases to get it to the brain as energy but there is no energy. So Leptin actually shuts the body down into starvation mode–the brain has no energy thus one must be starving and eat everything in site.
However, the more artificial sweeteners you eat, the more your body will get into starvation mode, the more you will eat in terms of calories and the less your body will see it as energy, forcing you to stop all activities to preserve energy and to keep on searching for food and keep on stuffing yourself. You may not be eating sugar per se but you may be gobbling up a ton of calories in fat and other goodies that all lead to fat.
In fact, if you walk around and watch what obese people eat, you will find out that nearly all are on diet–particularly women–drink diet drinks and eat only salads. The perfect menu for becoming obese and diabetic II in a short time.
If you are diabetic, and must avoid sugar, that means you must avoid all sweets… sugar or no sugar… to insulin sweet = sugar even if there is no sugar in it and that => diabetes II and obesity.
I hope I was able to give you a little better explanation than what you have heard about diabetes and diet stuff in general. So do not eat diet stuff! Eat healthy! Your health is in your hands!