Fake Food = Real (Big) Problems

I’ve never been a fan of artificial sweeteners, thinking something with the word “artificial” in its name can’t be that good for people. Our bodies are made to eat real, whole foods.

But wait!

“In Canada, food additives such as aspartame are subjected to rigorous controls under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. Before any food additive is permitted for use, manufacturers are required to file a food additive submission in accordance with Section B.16.002 of the Regulations. A submission must contain detailed information, including the results of safety tests, as well as information respecting the utility and potential benefits to the consumer of the additive in question.”

–          http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/addit/sweeten-edulcor/aspartame-eng.php

Sounds reasonable, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m happy researchers still care to dig deeper into health effects of food additives and other artificially manufactured “foods”, even if Health Canada designates them safe for human consumption.

And, on that note… 

There has been some new research that artificial sweeteners are tied to obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Intrigued? I was. A Yale University researcher, specializing in the neuropsychology of flavour & feeding, found that the artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose and aspartame, may rewire our taste receptors, play with our appetite and satiety hormones, AND our brain chemistry. Umm, no thanks.

When we eat, our bodies expect energy (ie.calories.) The problem lies when we eat, in this case something super sweet, and there is no calorie delivery; precisely what artificial sweeteners do. Over time, the body isn’t as good at predicting energy arrival from sweet tastes and therefore has to adjust.  How? By not releasing insulin – not good.

Epidemiological studies have also  shown that people who use high intensity sweeteners have a different metabolic profile than those who don’t. This puts them at increased risk for the above mentioned chronic diseases.

Not to worry, “artificial sweeteners are safe and approved by Health Canada.  Aspartame has been used for 30 years,” says Coca Cola Canada president, Nicola Kettlitz. That’s interesting because in the last 30 years rates of obesity and Type II diabetes have significantly increased, so has the production and consumption of “diet” foods.  I’m not saying this is the sole reason, but I’m sure it has played a significant role.

Let’s review – a little rewiring, some fiddling around with hormones and chemistry and voila, potential side effects, such as: increased cravings, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Is it worth it? What do you think?