Seduced by Sugar Substitutes; Beware

Like many others newly diagnosed as diabetic or prediabetic I tried to find ways to avoid sugar.  I started drinking Coke Zero,  Alarmingly I noted that my neuropathy symptoms were getting worse and immediately after consuming a diet soda I felt my symptoms get worse.  I looked online to see what sweetner was used and found that Coke Zero and Diet Coke both contain Aspartame and I found that this artificial sweetner often causes issues for neuropathy sufferers.

Overall my blood sugar numbers are good but despite that the tingling sensations in my feet and now my hands continue.  So goodbye Coke Zero it’s been nice to know you but you gotta go.  I also mistakenly grabbed Splenda instead of Stevia at the store and was using it  in my morning coffee and Splenda does not have a good track record either.

coke zero photo
Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Researchers found that intake of aspartame significantly steepened the association between Body Mass Index (BMI) and glucose tolerance. Being obese can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, which develops when blood sugar levels are too high.

Additionally, the extremely popular artificial sweetener, aspartame, is made up of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and menthol. The first two chemicals mentioned are amino acids, which are known to set off the hormones, insulin and leptin. These hormones are not only connected with storing fat and feeling full, they’re also involved with managing your metabolism.

When our insulin and leptin levels get out of whack, we’re at a much greater risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, published a book revealing just how bad aspartic acid (which makes up 40% of aspartame) can be when consumed in large amounts.

Blaylock had close to 500 scientific references backing up his findings that show aspartic acid is “causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.”

Fake sugars tend to mess around with bacteria in the gut. Since our bodies don’t digest artificial sweeteners, it makes a beeline for the intestines and bothers the gazillions of bacteria that call our gut their home.

One study found Splenda (aka sucralose) shrank the bacteria population by 49.8% in only 12 weeks!

According to Dr. David Perlmutter, “these changes in the gut bacteria relate to metabolic changes that pave the way for diabetes.”

Nature published an article discussing a study on people who normally didn’t consume artificial sweeteners. Scientists examined how artificial sweeteners affected the gut bacteria among other things. They found the participants bacteria had been altered to a level already known to up your chances of developing metabolic syndrome.

A Time Magazine article mentioned the same study, revealing that after only four days of the seven day study, over “half of the people showed higher blood glucose levels.”

And when your blood glucose levels are consistently high, that’s not good.

The Americian Diabetes Association actually encourages diabetics to use artificial sweeteners. They state, “Foods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are another option that may help curb your cravings for something sweet.”

One of the many reasons that I don’t pay a lot of attention to the American Diabetes Association or their recommendations.

But the many studies conducted over the last couple decades have found that diabetics should in fact break ties with artificial sweeteners.

The site, Diabetes Meal Plans says, “instead of [aspartame] being ‘safe’ for blood sugar, in many cases blood glucose levels increase when you consume artificial sweeteners.”

Also, a diabetics specialist researching aspartame found that it caused “poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs,” as well as provoking “diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis.”

You see, aspartame is notorious for lowering the serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter impacting many body functions such as appetite, sleep, learning, and wait for it…our mood! So if your serotonin levels start heading for the toity, it makes sense that your frame of mind would take a dip as well.

Often We battle depression by eating more.

In conclusion, Stevia seems to be the safest alternative to sugar I’ve found and the use of artificial sweetners seems to cause more problems for diabetics maybe even than using sugar itself so read labels and pay attention to how your body reacts to what you eat and drink.  I am hoping that these actions will help my health and possibly yours.

Comment on this post. I woud love to know your experiences and how you deal with diabetes.  Also if you could Like @suddenly diabetic on Facebook We might educate more people on this dangerous often undiagnosed disease.

Here is a recent thread on Facebook which paralleled my experience: