Monday, February 7, 2011

Don't Fake the Sweet.

I love ExerciseTV. It's such a convenient and comprehensive tool for staying active in your very own home. The site has a large library of workout videos for purchase, but also plenty that you can stream for free. As always, free content comes with the requisite advertisements. I don't begrudge that, but I wish that the trainers in the videos weren't constantly pushing Powerade Zero. Sure, it's got almost no calories and it does have some beneficial minerals, like potassium. However, it also has artificial sweeteners sucrulose and acesulfame K. For those of us seeking over fitness these substance are a huge no-no. Here's why:

  • Aspartame blocks the brain's production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, helps you sleep, and gives you a general feeling of contented wellness. Further, when your serotonin levels are low your body starts to crave foods that will increase the levels (carbs). So instead of helping you drop weight, this fake sweetness can actually make you gain it! Not to mention turn you into a restless, cranky person.
  •  Another theory is that fake sweetness triggers the release of insulin - the chemical in the body that regulates blood sugar. When this substance is released, but there is no real sugar around the body starts asking (craving) for some - especially the sugary and carb-rich foods that quickly turn into fat.
  • One study concluded that drinking diet sodas created an even higher risk for obesity than regular soda! This is astounding, considering the huge role that regular soft drinks play in obesity. Read about the study at WebMD.
  • When the body attempts to digest aspartame it breaks it down into methanol and formaldehyde. Methanol is an alcohol compound that makes antifreeze extremely poisonous. Formaldehyde is, of course, just creepy because it's used to preserve dead bodies - and not in a way that supports vitality, but in a way that pretty much pickles your tissue. It's also not a very friendly substance to have in the body because it is a carcinogen. Because the body has no way to get rid of these compounds, they simply pile up and start cause havoc slowly over the years with the appearance of chronic conditions that traditional doctors have trouble diagnosing. For heavy users or those diet drinks in combination with other substances (like creatin, for example) the results can be fatal.
Studies on this subject are in abundance. When reading up on it, though, be sure to look up a variety of sources. Many studies exist that were paid for by the industries the produce & use artificial sweeteners. I bet you can guess what their conclusions were... Do you research and decide for yourself. Your health is your own responsibility. Mouse drawing via

The FDA approval of aspartame involved a good deal of nasty politics. See a quick and dirty summary in the video below.

See the 60 minutes segment on the topic.

The following is a feature film-length documentary about artificial sweetners and their health effects.

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