Diabetes and sugar substitutes

Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 02:26 am

Various sugar substitutes, artificial sweeteners, are available which are marketed to slimmers. They typically have about one-tenth of the calorific value of sugar.
(and confusingly, are marketed as "suitable for diabetes sufferers as part of a sugar-controlled diet", which to me is as good as meaningless)

My question: Do they have an effect similar to sugar on the metabolism as far as a diabetes sufferer is concerned?
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Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 02:30 am
According to the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/NU00592
sugar substitutes can be used ( safely ) in place of sugar.

However, I remember reading an article within the past 6 months that suggested
that these substitutes in soft drinks, actually promoted the development of
pre-diabetes and diabetes.

I wish I could find that article.
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 03:41 pm
I might have saved that article.
Back in a minute..
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 04:26 pm
Nuts. I remember that article but didn't save it (or saved it before a computer melt down.) I've done a search in likely places like the NYTimes, and haven't found it.

I did find this one, and have no idea about the meaningfulness of the study..
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 04:42 pm
Aha, I had sent the article to someone, and still had it in my sent list..
and it's about the same study as the one in my last post -----


Saccharin may lead to weight gain
Researchers think the sweetener blunted lab rats' ability to burn off calories from their regular food portions.
By Denise Gellene, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 11, 2008

Casting doubt on the benefit of low-calorie sweeteners, research released Sunday reported that rats on diets containing saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food.

The study in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that the calorie-free artificial sweetener appeared to break the physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, driving the rats to overeat.

Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the latest report, said the study offered a possible explanation for the unexpected association between obesity and diet soda found in recent human studies.

Researchers have puzzled over whether diet soda is a marker for poor eating habits or diet soda ingredients cause people to put on pounds, she said. "This rat study suggests a component of the artificial sweetener may be responsible for the weight gain."

Steffen's own recent research has shown that people who drink diet soda have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of symptoms including obesity -- than do people who drink regular soda. Her research was published last month in the American Heart Assn.'s journal Circulation.

An industry group rejected Sunday's report.

"The causes of obesity are multifactorial," said a statement by Beth Hubrich, a dietitian with the Calorie Control Council, which represents low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage marketers. "Although surveys have shown that there has been an increase in the use of 'sugar-free' foods over the years, portion sizes of foods have also increased, physical activity has decreased and overall calorie intake has increased."

The number of Americans who consume soda, yogurt and other products containing sugar-free sweeteners more than doubled to 160 million in 2000 from fewer than 70 million in 1987, according to the report. Over the same period, the incidence of obesity among U.S. adults rose to 30% from 15%.

One interpretation of the trends is that people have been turning to lower-calorie foods to control an increasing problem with weight gain.

An alternative interpretation is that artificial sweeteners lead to biological or behavioral changes that cause people to eat more. This possibility is easier to test in rats than in people because scientists can control the animals' diets and measure exactly what they eat, said the study's lead author, Susan E. Swithers, an associate professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University in Indiana.

In the experiment, funded by the National Institutes of Health and by Purdue, nine rats received yogurt sweetened with saccharin and eight rats received yogurt sweetened with glucose, which is close in composition to table sugar. After receiving their yogurt snack, the animals were given their usual chow.

At the end of five weeks, rats that had been fed sugar-free yogurt gained an average of 88 grams, compared with 72 grams for rats that dined on glucose-sweetened yogurt, a difference of about 20%. Rats fed sugar-free yogurt were consuming more calories and had 5% more body fat.

In a related experiment, scientists gave the two groups of rats a sugary drink and measured changes in the animals' body temperatures. Body temperatures typically rise after a meal because it takes energy to digest food.

The rats in the saccharin group experienced a smaller average temperature increase, scientists said -- a sign that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners had blunted their body's response to sweet foods, making it harder for the animals to burn off their extra calories.

Swithers said that normally, sweet tastes signal that the body is about to receive a lot of calories, and the digestive system prepares to react. When sweet tastes aren't followed by lots of calories, as in the case of artificial sweeteners, the body becomes conditioned against a strong response.

Although the experiment looked only at saccharin, other artificial sweeteners may have the same effect, Swithers said.

A controlled study is needed to determine whether sweeteners have the same effect in people as in rats, she said, but some epidemiological studies have been consistent with her findings.

Swithers' next step, she said, will be to determine whether dietary changes could reverse the rats' physiological responses.

Adam Drewnowski, director of the nutrition sciences program at the University of Washington, cautioned against interpreting the results broadly.

"It is unreasonable to claim that results obtained studying saccharin in rats translate to every sweetener in humans," said Drewnowski, who has received research funding from the beverage industry in the past.

He added: "We now have studies showing that sugar calories are associated with obesity and the absence of sugar is associated with obesity. Pity those people trying to do something about obesity."

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Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 04:46 pm
Well.. interesting, but no immediate connection to diabetes in humans.
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 12:13 am
I think the article I saw was in either the NYTimes or the New England Journal of Medicine.
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 10:57 am
I looked for it in the NYT, but might have had the wrong keywords. Don't follow the NEJM.
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Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 01:34 am

Thanks to all the contributors here: sorry I didn't say so before.

Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 10:40 am
Y'er welcome, McT.
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Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 01:02 pm
Aspartame, the sweetener found in such items as Crystal Light, and sucralose, better known as the popular sweetener Splenda, are household names, thanks to the burgeoning interest in low-carb, low-calorie sweeteners.

However both these sweeteners and others also contain a number of chemicals and artificial ingredients that can be ultimately harmful. That is why more health practitioners, nutritionists, and those seeking to live a healthy lifestyle are switching to Stevia.

Stevia is an all-natural sweetener that contains no chemicals or other unpronounceable ingredients, and is actually much sweeter than sugar and other sweeteners as well, and so can be used sparingly.

More importantly, stevia is a healthier alternative to other sweeteners, as it contains no calories and a zero glycemic index. An ideal choice for diabetics, stevia is becoming increasingly recommended for those suffering from diabetes.

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