Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates are not as bad as you think, if you are responsible. Artificial sweeteners raise your blood sugar levels and corrupt digestive processes. Research studies cite evidence “that the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas are capable of detecting sweet foods and drinks and respond by releasing hormones, such as insulin, and add other alien microorganisms to digestion.

Carbohydrates may be better for you than artificial sweeteners like Equal, NutraSweet, and Splenda. Possibly natural sweeteners may also do more harm than good. These sweet subs may alter your digestive system, interfere with immune system, and raise triglycerides (part of your heart bloods serum panel) toward a diabetic diagnosis.

According to scientific research at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, artificial sweeteners may induce artificial diabetes type-2 symptoms from those that habitually use them. While high weight might be a factor, the intent to reduce carbohydrates through artificial sweeteners in food and beverages touted as “sugar-free” or “diet” or “0 calories” may make you sicker.

The US Food and Drug Administration approves artificial sweeteners. As food additives, six high-intensity artificial sweeteners are FDA-approved as food additives in the United States: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, and less popular neotame, and advantame.

Stevia is considered a natural leaf and is not an artificial sweetener. It is natural and added to juice beverages such as Tropicana 50. As of May 2016, the FDA has not approved Stevia as an additive. Among some concerns noted by the FDA include possible effects including the control of blood sugar and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal systems.

Marketing may be blamed for this. Products once touted Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Splenda (sucralose) under cooperated branding arrangements. Then there is a less common additive artificial sweetener that shows up in many products. Acesulfame potassium is a calorie-free sweetener that has been used in foods and beverages around the world for 15 years. The ingredient, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, has been used in numerous foods in the United States since 1988. All these are artificial sweeteners, now often masked in ingredient lists of our foods.

Chemically, all these artificial sweeteners begin with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These 3 element components create carbohydrates as sugars:

Carbohydrates (also called saccharides) are molecular compounds made from just three elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Monosaccharides (e.g. glucose) and disaccharides (e.g. sucrose) are relatively small molecules. They are often called sugars. Carbohydrates are natural energy sources, compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Artificial sweetener, Sucralose is somewhat similar to a carbohydrate molecule but it adds chlorine to the formula as C12H19Cl3O8. The addition of chlorine no longer classifies Sucralose as a carbohydrate under food nutrition panels.

Nutrasweet, another artificial sweetener is the chemical Aspartame, also begins as a carbohydrate type molecule but adds Nitrogen to create C14H18N2O5 that also can not be classed as a carbohydrate.

Aspartame’s three components are phenylalanine (50 percent), aspartic acid (40 percent), and methanol (10 percent). When aspartame is exposed to heat or prolonged storage, it breaks down into metabolites. One of these breakdown products is Diketopiperazine (DKP), a toxic metabolite that is not usually found in our diet. The effects of these different metabolites are unknown.

Ever popular artificial sweetener, acesulfame potassium, really messes with the original carbohydrate molecule by inserting both nitrogen and potassium, along with Sulphur, into the formula C4H4KNO4S. Added to “flavored waters” and some “naturally flavored sodas”, this artificial sweetener is touted as 200-times more sweet than carbohydrates.

Sucralose is made with chlorine. Nutrasweet uses Nitrogen. Sulfame potassium uses Nitrogen, Potassiun and Sulphur. These molecules, unlike carbohydrates, do not naturally occur or balance as part of your natural digestive processes.

In a New York Times editorial review, the authors cited that early animal experiments of 20 years ago reported dangers of artificial sweeteners over carbohydrates. Recent studies that, indeed, too much dietary carbohydrates seem to result in higher diabetes incidents in a population. New York Times article seems to give artificial sweeteners a sweeter outlook.

The Mayo Clinic also places artificial sweeteners on a positive level:

“One of the most appealing aspects of artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories. In contrast, each gram of regular table sugar contains 4 calories. A teaspoon of sugar is about 4 grams.”

What they seem to ignore are the nutrition panels found om most food packaging. New FDA regulations in 2016 revised nutrition panels to offer information on added carbohydrate sugars. Nothing has been added to indicate artificial sweeteners nor their content within the food product. Artificial sweeteners are non-nutritive even though they are present.

American Diabetes Association suggests artificial sweeteners for use to suppress urges for sweetness. Per Israeli study, some artificial sweeteners may actually elevate blood sugar levels.

Fundamentally, the attempt to control calories and satisfy a sweet tooth seems simple with artificial sweeteners but chronic dependence and use result in some some very nasty side effects. As far as body weight loss is concerned, there is virtually contradictory evidence that artificial sweeteners help weight loss over time.

Carbohydrates are natural and simple. They have been part of our main food groups for thousands of years. Our bodies thrive on them for energy. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for minimum carbohydrate intake, as set by the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, is 130 grams per day. 200 grams is satisfactory if you are marginally active and up to 500 grams per day if you are very active. Problem is that many people eat 500 grams or more carbohydrates each day. The excess carbohydrate calories metabolize into fat.

When you mix carbohydrates with fats from healthy oils or from unhealthy sources, you are layering it on. Even excesses of lean proteins metabolize into fat when unused by you and your body.

Using natural carbohydrates requires work and daily responsibility.

There are also different carbohydrates – simplex and complex – including fiber, starches, and sugars that provide energy:

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.
Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:
Table sugar
Brown sugar
Corn syrup
Honey
Maple syrup
Molasses
Jams, jellies
Fruit drinks
Soft drinks
Sweetened coffee beverages
Processed breads, rolls, bagels
Donuts
Danishes
Cake
Candy

Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. As these are complex, they metabolize slower, providing longer, more steady energy. They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often contain sources of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. These whole plant foods are great sources of complex carbohydrates:

Green vegetables
Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
Beans, lentils, and peas
Nuts (carbs and fats)

American Diabetes Association suggests that 25-30 grams of daily intake should be fiber. Fiber is subtracted from sugar carbohydrates to calculate net carbohydrates. To calculate net carbs, first subtract all of the insoluble fiber (if listed) from the total carbs and total fiber. If more than 5 grams of total fiber remain, you can also subtract half of the remaining fiber from total carbs.

Managing a carbohydrate diet requires sticking to servings and serving sizes. There are carbohydrate calculators that help you maintain stable weights, according to activity. Use also helps you plan slow, gradual, weight loss.

Because carbohydrates are nutritive, they are associated with dietary calories. Calories come from two energy sources: carbohydrates and fats. It takes about a 3200 calorie loss to lose 1-pound of weight.

Our history has consisted of nutrients from carbohydrate, fats, and proteins. They tasted good to us. With reduced activities, especially at night, managing the foods we eat help us stay healthy. For example, nuts and meats have fats but no carbohydrates and dietary servings of these may help manage weight.

Artificial sweeteners help take most of our food choice possibilities away. They are complicated compounds that might develop strange body reactions, Artificial sweeteners are marketed short-cuts leading to believe that we are reducing calories and carbohydrates. We really aren’t. They are not countable.

Healthy weight management is a responsibility. Habits help make people fat and weight loss require habits that are difficult to adapt. Carbs and fats are addictive. A concerted effort is necessary.

Proper food management from natural energy sources – carbohydrates in the morning and proteins at night – (as needed) are what the body mechanisms require. They require small servings – generally a handful.

There are nutritional supplements, particularly chromium and cinnamon that help interfere with carbohydrate metabolism. They are called carb blockers. These supplements may be available with or without prescription.They are called Amylase Inhibitors. Their role is to prevent starches from being absorbed by the body. When amylase is blocked, those carbs pass through the body undigested, so you don’t absorb the calories.

The research on efficacy of these is limited. I view carb blockers as cheating, unless you are edging towards Diabetes 2 or pre-diabetes. People do need calories and carbohydrates. Is it a route to help manage carbohydrate intake? I don’t know.

Artificial sweeteners are totally un-natural means and can potentially be harmful.

Healthy weight and energy management, without artificial sweeteners or radical short-term gimmicks, often requires visits with a registered or certified nutritionist to help personalize your needs and goals. Many may accept your health insurance coverage.

There are few short-cuts that offer long-term benefits. Use of artificial sweeteners is not one of them. For information about using carbohydrate blockers, speak with a nutritionist.

Carbohydrates and Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates are often viewed as the bad guys. Yet, we are the descendants of people that have eaten carbohydrates as food staples. Why are carbohydrates getting such bad press? Can they actually help with weight loss? What should you know?

As you escalate upwards on clothing sizes and notice bulges where you don’t want them, it may be time to consider weight loss. Many diets over the past 10 years have been lashing out on those nasty carbohydrates (carbs) and are professing that minimizing carbs help lead to weight loss quickly. The problem is we love our carbs. We need our carbs.

Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that are naturally found in most foods, excluding meat and fish. Basically, if it’s a plant (fruit, vegetable, legume,grain), juice, or dairy product, there are naturally occurring sugars or starches. Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.

Historically, people had high carbohydrate breakfasts because these natural sugars and starches provide bursts of energy required to start the day. In those days, people worked on farms and ranches. There were no cars and more people walked where ever they needed to travel to or rode on horses (that required upkeep). Carbs were considered great for most times in human history and, currently, in most uncivilized areas.

In civilized countries, sedentary lives suffer from too much carbohydrate intake. People drive cars, work with personal computers, and all sorts of mobile devices. Physical activity is more of an option as many more people choose to go home and watch TV for a few hours. Is this you?

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Your brain requires carbs for thinking as do many cellular networks. Sedentary lifestyles, following traditional eating habits formed for thousands of years, find that their trim bodies grow larger and they can’t figure out why.

A key problem is in society itself. Many “bought” foods use processed grains and add sugars to make them more palatable. These carbs are fine if you plan to go running for fifteen minutes after eating. The reason is these are simplex carbohydrates. These have simple, easily digestible carbs that are quickly absorbed by the body.

Examples of these are:
◾Table sugar
◾Brown sugar (including raw and organic sugar)
◾Corn syrup
◾Honey
◾Maple syrup
◾Molasses
◾Jams, jellies
◾Fruit drinks
◾Soft drinks
◾Candy

Then there are complex carbohydrates that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. The key difference between simple and complex carbs isn’t easily seen by your eye. It’s at microscopic levels. A carbohydrate is a molecule. Complex carbs have larger molecules than simple carbohydrates.

To understand this, you must be aware that our planet and everything on the planet and its atmosphere are made of atoms. There are many different types of atoms. When atoms are mixed together, you get molecules. For example, two hydrogen atoms meet one oxygen atom and, when they get together, the result is water. Zillions of these atomic bonds comprise our oceans. Carbohydrates are molecules, a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound. There are many different carbohydrate molecules and those differences lie in what makes one better for you than others.

Foods containing the healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients (nutritive molecules that help distinguish one food from another). Less healthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

How can carbohydrates promote heart disease? Excess sugar in the bloodstream can contribute to plaque, arterial wall residue and releases a hormone called insulin from your pancreas. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin. Insulin helps leads in the reduction of excess sugars and starches in the bloodstream that would be thickening blood, in high amounts. Insulin helps convert those carbs into energy.

When there are problems with insulin production, thicker blood in arteries can result in plaque that could disrupt vascular flow to your heart, brain, or elsewhere. This may contribute to strokes, heart attacks, and issues throughout the body.

One of the problems that can occur over time, in previously healthy individuals, is the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is usually found among obese people. In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. This is hyperglycemia, a condition of insulin resistance, where not enough insulin can be produced to deal with excessive carbohydrate consumption.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a hypoglycemia condition. Hypoglycemia may be a result that, when carbs are present in your bloodstream, excess insulin attacks them. Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body’s main energy source. Normally, there are certain pancreatic beta cells that help bring carbs to the cells but the flow is disrupted. In many cases, hypoglycemia occurs after meals because the body produces more insulin than is needed.
For those with hypoglycemia, excessive simple carbs can result in confusion, sleepiness, and (in extreme cases) unconsciousness. Other possible symptoms may include:

•Heart palpitations
•Shakiness
•Anxiety
•Sweating
•Hunger

When hunger occurs, a hypoglycemic is not satisfied after eating a full meal and feels the need to eat more. Eating more helps lead to excess weight gain and, perhaps, a higher degree of exhaustion.

How does your body react to carbs? There’s a rather long, tedious blood test that illustrates what happens after high-carb intake. The glucose tolerance test acts as a guide for you and your physician to take proper steps.

Carbohydrate consumption and problems associated with it may often be genetically linked, inherited through familial generations. In some ways, this may account for body appearance, and energy levels throughout a life span. Often, it can go undetected for many years under routine medical care.

Considering weight loss with carbohydrates? It is possible. The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA provides an excellent website with tons of information and recipes for each meal. Carb lovers needn’t worry. Slight modifications to how and when you eat, and how much you physically move, may contribute to an enduring weight loss program.

Carbs may not necessarily be the evil behind weight gain. How you consume carbs, especially mixed with excess saturated fats, may contribute to excess pounds. Consider that when you down a 4 ounce bad of chips and a liter of soda while wat5ching TV.

Knowing and using appropriate carbs and moving more actively may just help you achieve weight loss over time. Carbs are part of our history and are very addictive. Adapting responsible carb intake into a sedentary lifestyle may not be an easy task. Total carb withdrawal can be dangerous. Finding the responsible path may require aid from a certified nutritionist. Over years, you may find that your excess pounds have shed and your energy has improved, if you understand the virtues and dangers of carbs. It’s a lifestyle adaptation for the new lifestyle. It is not a quick-fix!