How many people think they are being more healthy by ordering a diet coke with their takeaway? How many people when in the supermarket pick up a muller light instead of that full fat natural yoghurt? Hopefully by the end of this blog you will be more educated as to which choices are better for you in relation to health and which is less likely to cause weight gain.
What exactly is the difference between diet products and full fat products? Anything that is diet, low cal or reduced fat has certain parts of the product taken away (sugar and fat) and then replaced by sweeteners. By taking out the sugar and fat, this reduces the calorific content of the product which people think is good, but is it? In an effort to make this product have the same palatability as it’s full fat/full sugar option, it is replaced with sweeteners. The common sweeteners include: Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Saccharin and Sucralose. There are however, numerous problems with these sweeteners…
They make you fat
In a 2005 survey by the University of Texas Health Science Center, those people who drink diet soft drinks actually gain weight. The study found that “for every can of diet soda people consumed each day, there was a 41% increased risk of being overweight.” Why is this?
When you consume something sweet your body gets ready to deal with the sugar, so your pancreas starts secreting Insulin into your blood stream. Insulin is responsible for opening up cells of the body to allow sugar from the blood to be stored in these cells, usually as fat. As your cells uptake sugar from your blood, your blood sugar levels then drop. This causes you to crave food as your body is crying out for the sugar you have not received from your diet drink. Studies show that this can lead to eating up to 3 times the amount of calories of someone who has not had the diet soft drink. Now if you are eating 3 times the calories because you crave sugar from your diet drink, you are bound to put on weight. Also further studies have shown that some of these sweeteners can cause chronic metabolic disorders. With this being the case, not only can they effect your eating habits and weight control in the short term, they can effect your metabolic system in the long term, causing lifetime battles with obesity.
They cause major health problems
Studies show that Acesulfame K stimulates insulin secretion in a dose dependent effect, possibly agrevating Hypoglycaemia (Low blood sugar attacks). It also apparently produced lung tumors, breast tumors, rare types of tumors of other organs (such as the thymus gland), several forms of leukemia and chronic respiratory disease.
Aspartame has been linked to various neuropsychiatric disorders, including panic attacks, mood changes, visual hallucinations, manic episodes, and isolated dizziness. Certain studies show symptoms including headache, nervousness, dizziness, memory impairment, nausea, temper outbursts, and depression.
Less research is available for Splenda also known as Sucralose but it is reported that years of constant use can contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.
With the above in mind it makes you wonder why such things are on the market??? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to go and drink loads of regular coke, eat loads of full fat yoghurts and have lots of full calorie products, as high amounts of sugar, saturated fat and excess calories will have their own problems. What I am saying is, you are better off staying well clear of anything labelled ‘diet’, ‘low cal’ or ‘reduced fat’ as they have adverse effects to weight loss and can bring major problems associated with health.
From the research I have seen, I would not touch anything that has been altered to make it ‘more healthy’. This includes any spreads, margarine’s, cooking oils etc. I would always go for the full fat option but to include this as part of a balanced, healthy, natural eating plan and you will benefit from better health and weight control. I do ask that if anyone reading this has children that regularly consume diet drinks, please reconsider letting them continue. It’s education and guidance that will reduce the obesity problem that seems to be multiplying on a rapid rate, so if we can make a difference it is all worth it.
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