View Full Version : Losing the Taste for Sweets : Artificial sweeteners are not a solution

12-27-09, 12:35 AM
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of refined sugar. But I'm most certainly not a fan of artificial sweeteners. One cause of concern is their safety.

For example, aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel) has quite a body of research that demonstrates it has real potential to have adverse effects on the body and brain. Another concern is that there isn't any good evidence that swapping artificial sweeteners for sugar promotes weight loss in the long term.

And another reason for my lack of enthusiasm for artificial sweeteners is the fact that they perpetuate the desire for very sweet foods. That's probably because they drive people to eat more foods rich in refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.

A better strategy might be just to wean off (or stop abruptly) intensely sweet foods. Now, someone used to eating a lot of sweet foods may miss them for a while, but the end result is usually that the need for sweet foods dissipates, and the sweet foods are no longer missed. It generally leads to a “resetting” of the taste buds so that many foods that used to be swallowed without any problem, now taste a bit too sweet.

I've seen this effect in many individuals and even in my own life. I used to drink several mugs of coffee a day, each with two heaping teaspoons of sugar. Many years ago, over a period of about a month, I weaned myself and have not taken sugar in coffee since. I couldn't-it tastes better without sugar now.

Another example of this is chocolate. I'm an advocate of dark chocolate and used to eat a brand containing 70 percent cocoa. I didn't enjoy it all that much, which was partly why I ate it and partly because it did not taste as sweet as milk chocolate. However, for the last few months I've largely confined myself to 85 percent cocoa dark chocolate. Now, when I have a bit of 70 percent cocoa, I am taken aback at how sweet it tastes.

I was thinking about weaning off of intensely sweet foods while reading a commentary regarding artificial sweeteners titled “Artificially Sweetened Beverages-Cause for Concern” that has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This commentary warns of the potential hazards of artificial sweeteners, including this fact: “Individuals who habitually consume artificial sweeteners may find more satiating but less intensely sweet foods (for example, fruit) less appealing and unsweet foods (for example, vegetables, legumes) less palatable, reducing overall diet quality in ways that might contribute to excessive weight gain.”

The commentary also refers to research that found, compared to sugar-sweetened food, artificially sweetened food led to increased food intake and weight gain in rats. The commentary also refers to research titled “Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward” published in August 2007 PLoS One, in which rats were able to self-dispense either saccharin or cocaine. Most animals, it turns out, chose saccharin over cocaine.

Dr. John Briffa is a London-based physician and author with an interest in nutrition and natural medicine. His Web site is Drbriffa.com


Sgt Leprechaun
12-27-09, 08:36 PM
I won't TOUCH anything but real sugar. Quite frankly, all the chemical crap in all that other stuff scares the heck outta me.

12-27-09, 08:40 PM
I use Brown Sugar at home or at a restaurant or Sugar Cane when possible:usmc: