Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 'Other' Sweetener That's Made from Sugar, but is Closer to DDT

Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 26 2011

Researchers recently investigated sucralose (Splenda) to see if it could reduce hunger and keep blood sugar steady. They found that it could not.

The researchers hoped to find that sucralose could cause the intestine to produce a hormone that reduces blood sugar and decreases appetite, which prior study had indicated might be a possibility. But the effect did not occur when it was ingested orally -- hunger remained the same and the blood sugar remained the same.
According to FYI Living:

"Worse, other research has shown that artificial sweeteners might contribute to weight gain ... [when the] sweet taste is not accompanied by the calories (energy) our brain expects it to be, the complex systems our bodies have to regulate energy balance may be thrown off kilter. The result is that a diet high in artificial sweeteners may possibly, over time, cause people to seek out more calories from other sources".

FYI Living March 10, 2011
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 2011; 65(4):508-13

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Avoiding sugar is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but, instead of consuming a naturally low-sugar diet based on whole foods, some people are still trying to have their cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is simply not based in reality. It's a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you're still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it'll help you manage your weight, please understand that you've been sorely misled.

In reality, "diet" foods and drinks ruin your body's ability to count calories, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge. This effect appears to be true for all artificial sweeteners.

Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst seriously damaging the health of those who listen to this well-intentioned but foolish advice.

Artificial Sweeteners INCREASE Your Risk of Obesity
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually double your risk of obesity!
How's that for being misled?

Studies have repeatedly shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight. For example, I have listed the results of six studies on aspartame that found it increases hunger and body weight on my Aspartame Studies page, and research on other artificial sweeteners have come to the same conclusion.

It's thought that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the inherent connection between a sweet taste and a high-calorie food, thereby changing your body's ability to regulate your intake of calories. The end result is that by consuming artificially sweetened foods and beverages, you end up gaining more body fat than if you were to eat the same foods sweetened with regular sugar!
But weight gain isn't the only health-harming side effect of these man-made chemical sweeteners.

Splenda Destroys Your Gut Flora
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.

Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines.
A study published in 2008 found that Splenda:
• Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
• Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
• Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions

They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.

In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement:
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."

I agree. It's truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health! Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I highly recommend for most, if not all, people.
Believe me, if you continually destroy up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed!

Splenda has Never Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption
Splenda was approved by the FDA as a tabletop- and general-purpose sweetener in processed foods in 1998. The FDA claims the approval was based on more than 110 animal and human safety studies. However, what they don't specify was that out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, consisting of a combined total of 36 people, of which only 23 people actually ingested sucralose.

Additionally, the longest of these two human trials lasted only four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance!

Many people have sent me stories about their adverse reactions to Splenda, which are posted on my site. This list alone contains more people than were formally studied in the research submitted for FDA approval!

The remainder of those 110-plus "safety studies" were done on animals, and they actually revealed plenty of problems, such as:
• Decreased red blood cells -- sign of anemia -- at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
• Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
• Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)
• Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
• A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group

Common Side Effects of Splenda
The web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
Gastrointestinal problems Blurred vision
Migraines Allergic reactions
Seizures Blood sugar increases
Dizziness Weight gain

You can also read the first-hand accounts of many of my readers here, at least one of whom say that allowing Splenda on the market is "worse than chemical warfare" based on the adverse effects she suffered before she figured out the cause. Just as with aspartame, many Splenda users complain of general malaise or "feeling under the weather," along with a variety of neurological changes, such as foggy-headedness, lack of concentration, and "bad mood."

If you have ever suffered any side effects from taking Splenda or any artificially sweetened product, I strongly recommend reporting it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.

Splenda—"Made from Sugar" But More Similar to DDT...
That's right.
The catchy slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" has fooled many, but chemically, Splenda is actually more similar to DDT than sugar.
Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. (A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together, i.e. glucose and fructose.) Then, in a five-step patented process, three chlorine molecules are added to that sucrose (sugar) molecule.

This process converts the sugar molecule to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.

But, if you look at the research, you will find that an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately is stored in your body. To reach the average number of 15 percent means that some people absorb more and some people absorb less, depending on your biochemical makeup.
If you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines, so for you the adverse reactions may be more acutely felt.

How to Kick the Artificial Sweetener Habit
Sweet cravings are very common for the simple reason that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners will neither reduce these cravings nor increase your satiety. On the contrary, as discussed above, you're likely making matters worse.

Your body also craves sweets when you're denying it the fuel it needs. Sugar (and grain carbs) is very quick fuel and can give your body a boost when it's running low. Again, using artificial sweeteners does not trick your body into thinking it has had its fill; rather it wants more sweets because it didn't get the energy boost with that sweet taste!

A powerful solution to help curb your cravings is to determine your nutritional type, which will tell you which foods you need to eat to feel full and satisfied.
It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your nutritional type, your sweet cravings will disappear. To help you turn your health around, I now offer the full nutritional typing program online for free, so please take advantage of this opportunity to dramatically change your health for the better.

Interestingly, nutrition- and fitness expert Ori Hofmekler recently shared a fascinating benefit of caffeine that can be helpful here. If you like coffee, drinking organic black coffee (meaning without sugar or milk) can help eliminate sugar cravings because the caffeine is an opioid receptor antagonist.

As you may know, sugar binds to the same opioid receptors as cocaine and other addictive substances. But once an opioid receptor antagonist occupies that receptor, it prohibits you from becoming addicted to something else. Therefore, caffeine may attenuate the addictive impact of sugar.

There are a few caveats to using this strategy however, including:
• Only drink organic coffee (as it's one of the most pesticide-heavy crops there are)
• Drink it black, sans sugar/artificial sweeteners or milk
• Only drink coffee in the morning, prior to exercise
• Limit your consumption to one or two cups

In addition to eating right for your nutritional type, I highly recommend addressing the emotional component of your food cravings, using a tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It's one of the most profoundly effective tools I've ever used or researched to help overcome food cravings and reach dietary success.
Turbo Tapping is particularly useful if you're addicted to soda. It's an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your addiction in a short period of time.

Related Links:
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose (Splenda)
Sucralose (Splenda) U.S. Product List
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose—Reader Testimonials

Monday, April 18, 2011

Are you a Fat Burner or a Sugar Burner?

Did you know that you can change your body from its preferred metabolism of fat, to a sugar based metabolism?

Did you know that even if you have accidentally changed your metabolism to a sugar burning metabolism, you can choose to change your body to a fat burning, lean machine?

Sugar, in the form of glycogen, is utilized by the body in times of stress for rapid bursts of energy. Glycogen is stored by the liver, and when the adrenals call out for emergency energy, the liver releases glycogen. Living a high stress lifestyle, or eating a diet high in processed foods, can cause the body to get spoiled and lazy. This is because, burning fat for energy is a tougher process than burning readily available, easy to burn, sugars.

Your body also naturally burns sugar when you exercise. Which is why aerobic activity, such as walking, helps to reduce blood sugar.

If you have read my book, Maintain Your Weight, then you already understand my concept about your metabolic furnace. If not, then a simple way to understand it is, sugar and processed foods are like dead leaves when thrown on a fire. They flame up instantly, and then die out very quickly. Larger more dense pieces of wood burn slower, and hotter, and the energy they produce lasts much longer.

If a person eats too much sugar and/or processed foods, or they have insulin which is sluggish & isn't doing its job, these sugars are not processed as they should be. Unused sugars are sent back to the blood stream for disposal and since the body doesn't know what to do with the extra sugar it gets saved as fat. The problem is, sugars do not stoke up your metabolic furnace; so you need energy sooner, and because your body is trained to use sugar for energy, you start to crave more sugars and simple carbohydrates.

I am guessing by this point you can name several people, you know, who probably have a sugar burning metabolism. You may even be saying, "Wow, that sounds like me." Would you like to take charge of your body and teach it to burn fat? It is possible.

First of all you need to let go of the myths you have learned about what to eat, and what not to eat. Here are some common dieting myths:

  1. Fat is bad. NOT TRUE. Fat is necessary for building cells, protecting your organs, making skin soft and supple and other necessary functions. More specifically cholesterol, which is made from fats, is very important to the body. Every cell in your body uses cholesterol. The truth is; Healthy Fats are a vital part of everyones diet. About 30-40 percent of your diet should come from healthy fats.

  2. You can eat as much protein as you want. NOT TRUE. Protein is absolutely an important part of a healthy diet, but a variety of protein is important. If you eat meat, about 20% of your diet should come from lean animal protein or beans and legumes. Remember that vegetables, and grains like oatmeal also have protein, so you are not going to be without enough protein if you eat right.

  3. Grains should be a staple in your diet. NOT TRUE. Grains should be a small part of your diet, and they should be whole grains, like real steel cut oats. Not the kind that comes in a package you can pour hot water on and eat. In order for grains to be a healthy part of your diet, they must be difficult for your body to break down. Make your body work for those calories... and make sure the calories you provide are nutrient dense and high in fiber.

  4. Red meat is bad for you. NOT TRUE. Meat which has visible fat is bad for you. Lean cuts are acceptable, but remember a portion of meat is about 3-4 ounces.... which is about the size of a deck of cards. Some individuals tolerate red meats better than others. There are lots of other meats you could consume also. Consider chicken, white fish, salmon and tuna, deer, bison etc. Pork tends to have fat cells which are not visible, and you can not cut off, so we often recommend that people who have inflammatory conditions or are trying to manage their weight, avoid pork.

  5. Fiber is yucky! NOT TRUE. Vegetables have lots of non-soluble fiber. This fiber helps to balance blood sugar, and keep the pipes clean. Vegetables are also high in phytonutrients and are also known to help fight cancer. Vegetables are so important for your body you should eat some with every meal. 8 out of 10 bites of food should be a fruit or vegetable.

  6. Fruit is too high in sugar. NOT TRUE. Fruit is best eaten away from large meals, because it gets processed much faster than meats and vegetables, and can cause some gas or bloating if eaten on top of a meal. If you have fruit with your meal eat it about 15 minutes before the rest of the meal. Fruit has water soluble fiber in it, which also helps keep the pipes clean, and can help with constipation. If you are diabetic, you may find that fruit can raise blood sugar because your body is not utilizing sugar properly. It's absolutely necessary to get your body burning fat for energy if you are pre-diabetic, or already dependent on medications for blood sugar management.

So you need to know how to do this... right? Well, I recommend the Leptin Diet. If you would like a printable form of this diet click here. Below is a simple run down of how it works.

Eat These Foods:

Healthy fats, such as; nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, salmo, tuna etc.

Lean proteins, such as eggs, seafood, chicken, turkey, fish etc.

Vegetables and fruits, such as asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, beans, green beans, garlic, peppers, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, blueberries etc.

Foods to avoid:

Cows milk, frozen custard, fatty cheeses, processed meats, peanuts, barbeque sauce, ketchup, mayo, cakes, candies, processed foods, sugar, etc.

For the full diet and its explanation click on the link above. If you have questions please don't hesitate to call the office. By the way, this diet is a great maintenance plan for people who just finished their diet drops.

One of the most important things to remember is: Chew your food thoroughly. Chew it until it is no longer recognizable, then swallow it. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. You should drink about half your body weight, in ounces, of water a day.

Recommended supplementation:

L-Carnitine to help your body burn fat. L-Carnitine is to Fat, as Insulin is to Sugar. We do have a couple of different options at our office for this product. Recommended amount is 1000 mg at breakfast, and lunch, daily.

EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) I always recommend that a person take 2000-4000 mg a day of a good quality, pharmaceutical grade fish oil or vegetarian based EFA product while trying to lose weight.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) Check out my blog from a week or so ago for more information on this great product. I usually recommend about 1500 mg three times a day while trying to lose weight.

Vitamin D is also very important in this process. Unless you live near the equator and spend a lot of time outdoors with very little clothing and no sunscreen, you probably need to take about 5000-8000 iu a day of a good quality, proven to be absorbable, product. We have two different types at our office, come by and ask about it.

Probiotics which are non-dairy in nature. Since you will be completely avoiding most dairy products during this program, you should find a good non-dairy probiotic. There are many available. We have one at our office that you only need to take 1 a day of, which is way less than most products suggest.

Enzymes are also very important for general health. We have a few different kinds which work well to aid in digestion if taken with meals, but they also work great to help clean inflammation out of the body when taken away from meals, on an empty stomach. We typically recommend enzymes for anyone who needs to lose weight, or may be dealing with food sensitivities.

I hope this information is helpful, and if you need someone to discuss it with, you can always make an appointment at our office. If you would like a printable form of this diet click here.