Good Morning!


I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend and taking some time to set your intentions for the week ahead!


This is not the first time (and probably won’t be the last) that I talk about artificial sweeteners. They are so prevalent and offer so much hope and promise, when in reality they are wreaking havoc on our health and in part to blame for climbing obesity rates.


Yes, I said “sugar free” items are in part to blame for obesity.


…say what?


You might be asking, how can something that is “sugar free” cause someone to gain weight or be harmful to our health?


Short answer – our brains aren’t actually that intelligent, but they are efficient.


Long answer – let me explain by sharing a study that was done on cyclists several years ago –


Researchers took a group of cyclists and had them cycle at the same pace for 1 hour.


Half of the cyclists took a “Gu” (basically a sugar packet that many athletes use for quick energy) at the beginning of the ride and the other half sucked on a peppermint through the ride (until it dissolved).


You could argue that there is an approx. 20-25g difference in sugar between the two (peppermint has approx. 5g of sugar and Gu has approx. 25-30g)


And you know what?


There was no difference in performance between the Gu group and the peppermint group.


Which tells us that our brain only needs to TASTE sweet to start the process of releasing insulin and giving fuel to our muscles to use.


Now, if the riders were doing a multi-hour ride – of course a peppermint will not suffice over time because they will start needing actual calories eventually.

But, for our purposes today– the big takeaway here is: just the TASTE of something sweet – it doesn’t matter where the sweet comes from or if you took in 5g or 30g – blood sugar responds, insulin gets released and the body starts making sugar available for fuel, which means blood sugar rises.


This is all fine and good if the only time you taste sweet is when you’re headed into a workout with your body primed to burn the sugar you just ate. But, how consistently realistic are these circumstances?


Now back to artificial sweeteners >>


Given the above “illustration” – doesn’t it make sense now that consuming, let’s say a diet coke, every day wouldn’t actually help with weight loss but potentially cause MORE sugar cravings because “sugar free” or not – you’re still getting the taste of sweet and now you understand that just the taste of sweet impacts insulin // blood sugar no different than if you drank “real” sugar vs artificial.


Moral of the story – you’re not doing yourself any favors by drinking “diet” drinks and might even be creating more health issues for yourself down the road – no different than if you consumed a soda sweetened with “real’ sugar.


Here is a link to an article (3-4 minute read) that offers helpful insight into how artificial sweeteners can impact our health.


And some of you may ask – but what about stevia or monk fruit or the “sugar substitutes” that come from plants and are therefore considered more “natural”?


Below are two articles from Dr. Josh Axe that discuss natural sweeteners.


The first talks about Stevia, specifically.

The second offers helpful wisdom on the best natural “sugar substitutes”.


Net, net – I stand by the wisdom I shared above. Regardless of where the sweet is coming from, it will impact blood sugar and that will impact cravings and cravings will impact weight.


While I don’t suggest any of the natural sugar substitutes in large quantities – those will at least cause less of a spike in blood sugar as they are lower on the glycemic index.


I know it can be tough to avoid sugar – it’s in everything, it seems. Even things you wouldn’t suspect. I never intend to create fear around food – but I do hope this creates more tenacity for you to read labels and be intentional.


I hope you have a lovely, peaceful week ahead of you!