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Diabetes and Artificial Sweeteners?

Hi, Are diet drinks bad for diabetics? Like diet Snapple black tea? Please advise, thanks in advance.

Answer:

Diet drinks usually contain one of more artificial sweeteners. There are a number of studies which suggest that artificial sweeteners particularly aspartame can have negative effects on diabetics. One study was found to decrease insulin sensitivity while another suggests that aspartame effectively tricks the brain into thinking it has consumed sugar and so it responds the same way. Other studies that found people who use artificial sweeteners were heavier, more likely to have diabetes, and more likely to be insulin-resistant compared with non consumers. Depending on the product, Diet Snapple contains a variety of sweeteners, aspartame, sucralose and Acesulfame k, which have all been suggested to have negative health effects beyond diabetes. I would avoid artificial sweeteners wherever possible. If you do need to have a diet drink I would suggest looking for ones sweetened with Stevia. Stevia is a natural herbal sweetener and some preliminary animal studies have suggested it may even help regulate blood glucose levels. Stevia and Blue sky make diet soda sweetened with Stevia.

Xylitol

Is it really a safe sweetener

Answer:

I would say amongst the sweeteners currently available it is one of, if not the safest sweetener on the market. There is no known toxicity in humans with the only side effects being that it can act as a laxative in large doses. Most other sweeteners have some questions over their safety. Additionally Xylitol has the benefit of assisting in the remineralisation of damaged teeth.

Sweeteners

I have been eating healthy foods only for about 2-3 months after a diet and maintained the weight I am happy with. In the last two weeks I started consuming A lot of gum, about 100 pieces a day and started drinking diet coke on regular basis and last week I had a huge binge where I ate 5000 calories and few days later another one where I ate 4000 calories and it was all sugary unhealthy foods. Before the weeks I had no desire for unhealthy food and I exercised regularly but on these two days I skipped my exercise. I am 168 cm and have about 50-52 kg and I usually eat around 2000 calories since I exercise on daily basis, never had any desire for sugar and fat and actually found it disgusting, I mean for the three months that I have been eating and feeling healthy. Could it be from the sweeteners in these products? I started reading and I have read it may cause sugar cravings so is it is possible they came from the sweeteners my question is how long does it take for them to leave the body so that I won’t feel the binges and the side effects. Also my binge was really unhealthy, both of them containing loads of sugar so how long will it take from my body to detox, that is considering I ditch the sweeteners and the binges tomorrow.

Answer:

Its difficult to say what is the cause of your desire to binge, but it is not unusual for people to have the desire to binge when they are following a diet long term. The problem can be made worse once you start you don’t want to stop and a single binge can become a weekly and then daily occurrence. Certainly the fact that you were consuming 100 pieces of chewing gum is a concern, most chewing gum contains many different artificial sweeteners and other artificial ingredients. Eating this kind of quantity on a daily basis could certainly result in health issues. You should really only be eating 1 or 2 pieces a day at most. We don’t really know the effect of artificial sweeteners on the brain and how they affect our appetite, but some new studies suggest they can trigger the same effect in our brain as eating real sugar. It could well be possible that by consuming such large amounts of sweeteners they had some knock on effect which made you want to consume all these other sweetened products.

Diet soda/aspartame

I have been drinking sodas since I was a teenager. In my late teens I switched to diet soda. I know they are not healthy and I have tried several times to stop drinking them. However, I find myself just not drinking if my only option is water. I have tried flavoring my water with lemon or orange and still I find myself just not drinking it. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

It is difficult for people who are used to heavily sweetened drinks to go back to drinking water. Artificial sweeteners are generally best avoided if possible. If you are really struggling to find a way to drink water, you might want to consider looking at some of the Stevia based natural drink mixes that are currently available. Stevia is a natural low calorie sweetener made from a species of plant native to Central and South America. I would suggest that you consider giving these a try, as it would be a good alternative to soda’s with aspartame and other artificial ingredients. Secondly I would recommend to very slowly reduce the amount of drink mix you use. Trying to cut things out completely makes it very difficult to achieve long term. Rather than trying to cut things out, slowly reduce the amount of drink mix you make over time. Eventually you may be able to get down to using a very small amount of the drink mix. I would also consider trying to introduce drinking teas, such as caffeine free herbal and fruit based teas. Not only will they provide a way to consume more water, but they can also provide some valuable anti-oxidants to your diet. If you can split your daily water consumption between some herbal teas and a stevia drink mix, you may find you are able to prevent yourself going back to drinking Soda’s.

Xylitol

My dentist recommended I start using chewing gum that contains Xylitol to help reduce tooth decay? Have you heard of this and are there any risks, as I am not keen on consuming artificial sweeteners?

Answer:

Yes I have heard of xylitol, it is actually a natural sweetener so you don’t need to be concerned. Xylitol works by interfering with bacteria, which need sugar to reproduce, so they starved in the presence of xylitol. Normally when oral bacteria reproduce acids are produced that cause cavities to begin to form. Using xylitol raises the pH of saliva in the mouth. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to fill into those parts of enamel where they are lacking. For this reason, use of xylitol has demonstrated not only a reduction in tooth decay, it was also shown to reduce and even reverse some existing dental caries. If you are looking to start using xylitol gum, I would be careful which products you use. Many of the mainstream products from the big brands you find when you go to pay at the supermarkets, are full of artificial sweeteners. I have seen some with as many as four different artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin and Acesulfame K. The labels often say contain xylitol on the front but don’t say how much. I would go to you local health food shop and look for Xylitol only gum, such as Spry Xlear which is sweetened only with Xylitol and contains much higher amounts per piece of gum. There are quite a few different brands out there, so hopefully you can find one.