Diets Don't Work

Diets Don't Work. These three words are blitzing the American media these days. Not only is this statement true, but it is sad that this - THIS - is what Americans focus their time and money on. There are people starving for food, suffering through earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis, and fighting wars and social prejudices and abuse, yet the primary focus in our Western society, is dieting. What's wrong with this picture?

The real answers to America's gluttony, obesity and apathy toward eating healthy and lack of exercise are being ignored. Processed foods, toxic chemical additives in food and medications, trendy diet programs, and sugar-free artificial sweeteners are at the root of epidemic weight gain. People are fat because they no longer eat real food; gorging themselves, instead, on processed foods and diet colas, all promising no health penalties because they are "sugar-free." Well after 20 years of aspartame, and now Splenda®, look in the mirror. Is this working for you? It never did!

Becoming overweight doesn't happen overnight. Day by day and week by week, people eat and drink a little more than their bodies can use for daily energy, growth and physical activity. No matter what the food or beverage is - sugar free or not - the unnecessary calories get stored as fat. Over time, the stored fat accumulates and your weight increases. More energy is coming in than going out.

So, before you tear open that little colored packet of diet sweetener and stir it into your coffee, ask yourself this question:

Do diet sweeteners really help you lose weight, or do you eat more and gain weight in the long run?

Diet sweeteners make you fat because they trick your body and don't feed it what it needs. You stay hungry, so you eat more. Chemical diets are unnatural, and when the body is hungry, it wants to be fed - not chemicals, but whole foods with natural vitamins and nutrients to fuel it. Fake foods are what I refer to as "prosthetic food" because a prosthesis looks like the real thing, such as a false tooth, but there is nothing inside of it - it's not real. So it is with fake foods. They may look like real food and taste like real food, but there is nothing inside for the body to feed from.

Several things happen when the body is fed diet chemicals:

1. It begins to hoard whatever "real" food it receives in the form of fat, because it thinks it's starving and stores food for later use.

2. Artificial food chemicals penetrate the brain and get stuck there, acting "out of control" once inside. They are toxic to the brain, and they upset the normal function of the pineal gland, the hypothalamus and the nerve centers, sending scrambled signals to the body organs. Illness, hormone imbalances, loss of libido, and weight gain result.

3. They stimulate the hunger sensation, but do not satisfy your appetite. So you remain hungry, and you eat more.

Are you hungry all the time? Well, science shows that diet sweeteners increase hunger. Most people don't feel satisfied after eating a sugar-free snack or meal. Many scientific studies have proven the physical reasons why you don't feel full.

Aspartame has been shown in laboratory studies to create changes in insulin levels called a "cephalic phase insulin response." A cephalic response is a digestive reaction triggered in the brain by the taste, smell, sight or thought of any food. Your whole digestive system, from your mouth to your colon, can be affected by these messages. Changes in cephalic phase responses such as salivation, gastric acid production and liver metabolism, for example, can alter normal appetite.

Michael G. Tordoff, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California at Davis, published findings where aspartame in chewing gum increased hunger due to oral stimulation of the added chemicals. His study also showed a gender-related sweetness response, which explains why certain people feel "ravenous" after consuming aspartame-containing products, while others do not.

A sweet taste triggers your brain to expect calories and carbohydrates (incoming sugar). When you fake out your body with sugar-free foods and real nutrients aren't delivered, your body activates a "hunger response", which creates a constant need for food.

Besides affecting insulin, serotonin and your body's hunger response, chemical sweeteners also increase cravings in yet another way by altering your blood sugar. This can be especially dangerous to people with diabetes or epilepsy, and can cause fluid retention, giving the body a puffy and bloated appearance, and it increases cellulite.

Another study by Tordoff and Friedman has shown that test animals have the urge to eat more food after ingesting artificial sweeteners, lasting up to 90 minutes. They documented that when blood levels for insulin production are normal (high levels of insulin are believed to be the cause of hunger), the animals consumed more food than the ones who did not eat artificial sweeteners. The result: fat rats.

Science continues to support appetite stimulation: in human aspartame studies, scientists have duplicated this urge to overeat. Blundel and Hill documented that "most artificial sweeteners enhance appetite and increase short-term food intake." They reported: "After ingestion of aspartame, the volunteers were left with a residual hunger compared to what they reported after eating glucose (sugar). This lingering hunger leads to increased food consumption." The result: fat humans.

So the next time you hear an advertisement touting "diets don't work", put down that diet cola, because they are right. Sugar-free and chemical dieting doesn't work!

Posted February 2008 | Permanent Link

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