Dying To Be Thin: Juvenile Obesity And Diet Sweeteners

By Dr. Janet Starr Hull

Illustrations by Lynn Townsend Dealey

“Why are we so fat? We enjoy one of the most luxurious lifestyles on Earth: Our food is plentiful. Our work is automated. Our leisure is effortless. And it’s killing us.”

- Cathy Newman, National Geographic Senior Writer

Becoming overweight doesn’t happen overnight. Day by day and week by week, we eat or drink a little more than our bodies can use for daily energy, growth and physical activity. No matter what the food or beverage is—sugar-free, fat-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.

The question to ask: Do diet sweeteners really help you lose weight, or do you eat more and gain weight in the long run? Obesity among children is a result of overeating the chemical foods that falsely promise no penalty of weight gain.  And adults are promoting these bad eating habits onto our children.

According to researchers, there is no clear-cut evidence that sugar substitutes help people lose weight. These days, more and more data suggests that these chemical sweeteners may actually stimulate appetite. Aspartame has been on the market for over twenty years, so most of the information in this paper refers to weight gain in relation to products made with aspartame. It is too early to know how these patterns will repeat with sucralose (Splenda®).

Do Diet Sweeteners Make You Fat?

Yes, 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 and weight gain can result.
  • Chemical sweeteners stimulate the hunger sensation but do not satisfy your appetite. So, you remain hungry, and you eat more.

Listen To Your Elders:  Miriam is my mom. A Rhodes scholar, Miriam is a sharp 81-year-old woman. She was raised during the American Depression of the 1920s, grew up in a small town outside Atlanta, Georgia and lived through the sugar rations of World War II. She became a gourmet cook in her married life, always eating fresh foods and serving the family gourmet, homemade dishes every day. Now a widow, Mom sold her home and moved into an assisted living center after Daddy died. The “institutional” food is unsatisfying to what she was used to eating all her life, and she has had a difficult time enjoying her meals. Plus, a petite woman, she has gained weight (while eating less) for the first time in her life as a result of the processed flours and sugars, and canned and frozen meals.

Miriam tells the story of how her assisted living center always serves ice cream or frozen sherbet after each meal, and she usually chooses the ice cream cup. One night, the kitchen ran out of ice cream and served everyone frozen sherbet—sugar-free sherbet. They didn’t tell the residents it was sugar-free, but Mom knew immediately. “I knew it was diet because it didn’t taste like real sherbet, but what made the biggest impression on me was after I finished eating it, I wasn’t satisfied. I felt as if I had not eaten a cupful of sherbet at all, and I could have eaten another one just to feel satisfied. That’s the problem with these diet products these days—they don’t do anything for you—so you want to eat more just to feel full.”

Are you hungry all the time? Science Shows Diet Sweeteners Increase Hunger: Most people agree with Miriam: they don’t feel satisfied after eating a sugar-free snack or meal. Many scientific studies show 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.

It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

Studies prove that:

*Aspartame penetrates the brain

*This suppresses serotonin

*Then you crave carbohydrates

A sweet taste triggers your brain to expect calories and carbohydrates (incoming sugar). When you fake out your body, and nutrients aren’t delivered, the 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 further altering your blood sugar. This can be dangerous to people with diabetes or epilepsy and can cause fluid retention, giving the body a puffy and bloated appearance, and it increases cellulite, too.

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 ninety minutes. They documented that when blood levels for insulin production were normal (high levels of insulin are believed to be the cause of hunger), the animals fed chemical sweeteners consumed more food than the ones who did not eat artificial sweeteners.1

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."2

This proves the brain retains the urge to eat when the taste buds are stimulated without “real” nutrients having actually entered the body.

Because aspartame is a neuro-excitotoxin (a chemical that over-stimulates brain cells), the brain gets “wound up” and this triggers a false appetite. This may or may not change the taste of your food, but you become over-stimulated and tend to eat more at each meal and binge-snack because you are hungry all the time.

Those extra calories you save with that diet cola won't make much difference if you eat chocolate chip cookies three hours later because you’re hungry. If constantly using diet sweeteners is actually increasing your appetite, why use them? Common sense tells me that proper diet and exercise are more beneficial in losing body fat and maintaining your weight. Even if you believe that artificial sweeteners help your dieting, is this worth risking your health?

Sandra Cabot, M.D., states this about weight gain using aspartame:

“I have been a medical doctor for twenty-three years and have clinical and research interests in the liver and metabolism. I have been consulted by thousands of patients with weight problems, hormonal imbalances, fatty liver, sluggish metabolism and chronic ill health. In the interests of public health, I am making a position statement concerning the use of the artificial sweetener aspartame sold most commonly under the names of NutraSweet® and Equal®.

“One must ask, ‘Why do millions of people ingest a toxic chemical like aspartame everyday?’ To me it appears ridiculous and I believe that it is because people have been brainwashed into thinking aspartame will keep their weight down and is good for health. It also shows me that we have lost touch with our own natural senses and instincts.

“After having been consulted by thousands of overweight people suffering with problems concerning the liver and/or metabolism, I can assure you that aspartame will not help you in any way, indeed it will help you to gain unwanted weight. This has been my experience, and there are logical reasons to explain the fattening and bloating effects of aspartame.”

According to Dr. Cabot, when you ingest aspartame, the liver cells have less energy for fat burning and metabolism, which results in fat storing. Excess fat may build up inside the liver cells causing "fatty liver” and making it extremely difficult to lose weight.

Professor Terry Davidson and associate professor Susan Swithers, researchers in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the Ingestive Research Center at Purdue University USA, studied how artificial sweeteners disrupt the body’s ability to naturally count calories. Based on their research, Davidson and Swithers proved that switching to diet drinks is not a solution to fight obesity.

Davidson and Swithers found that artificial sweeteners disrupt the body’s natural ability to count calories based on the foods’ sweetness.3 They determined that the body naturally uses food characteristics of sweetness and food texture to gauge when it is full. The body uses this information to determine how much food is required to meet its caloric needs.

“Incidence of overweight and obesity has increased over the past twenty-five years with the increase in the consumption of artificially sweetened foods,” stated Swithers. “Our hypothesis is that experience with these foods interferes with the natural ability of the body to use sweet tastes and texture to gauge caloric content of foods and beverages.  When you substitute artificial sweeteners for real sugar, however, the body learns it can no longer use its sense of taste to gauge calories.  So, the body may be fooled into thinking a product sweetened with sugar has no calories and, therefore, people overeat.”4

Hunger May Simply Be Thirst—For Water, Not Diet Sodas

Drinking water—not diet colas—can often satisfy that hunger according to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. In his book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, he writes, “Many persons confuse their thirst as hunger. Thinking they have consumed enough ‘water’ that is in their soda, they assume they are hungry and begin to eat more than their body needs for food. In due time, dehydration will cause a gradual gain in weight from overeating as a direct result of confusion of thirst and hunger sensations.”

“It is primitive and simplistic thinking that one could easily lace water with all sorts of pleasure-enhancing chemicals and substitute these fluids for the natural and clean water that the human body needs. Some of these chemicals, caffeine, aspartame, saccharin and alcohol, through their constant lopsided effect on the brain … [program] the body chemistry with results opposite to the body’s natural design.”

- Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

Ellington Darden, PhD, states in his book, A Flat Stomach ASAP, that super hydration, sipping large amounts of water each day, is an important dietary guideline to keep your hunger under control.

So, the next time you think you want a “sugar-free snack,” sip on a glass of water—not a diet cola—and see if your hunger goes away!

The Right Type of Carbs For Weight Loss

Modern consumers have been misinformed about what carbs really are, and typically eat the wrong types of carbohydrates while avoiding the right ones. So, what ARE the right carbohydrates, anyway?

There are two types of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbs: “The Good Guys”—made in nature, disaccharides and polysaccharides (natural sugars). Complex carbs are found in vegetables, greens and fruits.
  • Simple carbs: “The Bad Guys”—manmade, monosaccharide (simple sugars and artificial sweeteners). Simple carbs are found in potatoes, corn, refined grains and grain products, refined pasta, processed foods, baked goods, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.

What do carbohydrates have to do with weight gain and artificial sweeteners? Just about everything! Complex carbs (natural sugars) are bulky and do not pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This means little or no weight gain or increase in body fat if food portions are regulated. That’s why you need to eat your greens, like Mother told you to!

Simple carbs (manmade and artificial sugars) pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This means weight gain, increased fat and elevated blood sugar that can lead to diabetes. We all should eat fruit and cheese for dessert like our Europeans ancestors used to do, instead of eating our modern sugary treats.

Carbohydrates are the most abundant source of energy found in nature. They are products of plant photosynthesis, which provide the plant’s fuel for life in the form of sugar. We are eating the plant’s energy, which in turn  becomes our own energy.When we eat the right kind of carbs, we are providing our bodies with fuel so we can perform daily activities from thinking to walking up a flight of stairs. If you are eating abalanced diet with reasonably sized portions, complex carbohydrates should not cause weight gain. But these days we are victims of the “fear of carbs and sugar” fad, and the artificial sweetener manufacturers are taking advantage of this with a marketing frenzy.

Perhaps, the manufacturers of NutraSweet/Equal® and Splenda are overly optimistic to assume the chemicals implanted in their fake sugar molecules absolutely cannot penetrate the intestinal wall into your bloodstream. Scientists have already proven aspartame does transport throughout your blood and into your brain, resulting in weight gain and increased body fat.

Does Sucralose Cause Weight Gain, Too? It’s too soon to prove sucralose will cause the same weight gain reaction as aspartame, but sucralose is a simple carb made with chlorine that passes through your liver, just like all foods, and the digestion process begins. As with methanol in aspartame, I have already mentioned that the liver cells have less energy for fat burning and body metabolism when toxic chemicals, such as aspartame, come into the liver. This results in fat storing.

The manufacturers of Splenda claim sucralose passes through the body unabsorbed. They also claim sucralose doesn't react with the body’s natural processes, and is not broken down at all. But, I do not agree that sucralose passes through the body as an unabsorbed simple carb – there are no guarantees.

With today’s weight-conscious society, fewer calories with every meal seem to be the logical answer. But a closer look in the mirror may prove recent statistics are correct: diet sweeteners, while appearing to decrease calories, do not control your weight over a long period of time.

Natural Foods Are Naturally Sweet

Hats off to Cascadian Farms®, an organic food company that produces whole grain, naturally “low-carb” products. Their Honey Nut O’s® cereal is an example of what real food should be compared to the “more” popular brand found in mainstream markets, especially for growing children. There are no artificial sugars, no hydrogenized fats or oils, no processed grains or unnatural preservatives.

This product is sweetened with naturally milled organic sugar, organic honey, organic molasses, and organic oat flour, barley flour, and organic ground almonds. The only “preservative” in this cereal is vitamin E, added for freshness.

With natural food products such as this, there is no need to sprinkle on sugar or an artificial sweetener because it already tastes sweet in its original state. This proves to me that most over-processed foods have little taste, so they require artificial chemicals such as sweeteners to restore their original flavor.

The Epidemic Of Obesity

The percentage of overweight children has tripled in the past two decades, and the percentage of obese adults has doubled. Even when we factor in bad health habits and poor lifestyle choices, we must acknowledge this weight gain coincides with the introduction of NutraSweet twenty years ago. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidence, and I strongly believe that it is time to accept reality that aspartame use and weight gain are directly related.Over twenty years ago, independent researchers warned us that aspartame would cause weight gain—and look at us now.

A prediction come true:  Twenty years ago, Dr. Russell Blaylock predicted that excess phenylalanine in the brain from aspartame will block normal production of serotonin to the point of weight gain due to an increase craving for carbohydrates and sugar. The result: epidemic weight gain.

Obesity is increasing worldwide and is set to become the world's biggest health problem. Recent reports suggest that it may soon overtake cigarette smoking as a serious health risk. Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight, and 30.5 percent are obese, according to data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).5 In the UK, nearly two-thirds of men and over half of all women are now overweight—and one in five are obese. At this rate, by 2010 at least one in four adults will be obese. According to data compiled by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), England and Scotland have some of the highest levels of obesity in Europe.

The worldwide increase is also spreading to areas of developing countries where there is recent access to the Westernized over-processed diet and technology.

Obesity poses serious health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure, to name a few. All of these chronic diseases can be positively altered through proper dietary changes of whole foods without fake sugars or fake fats, so take heart.

The High Price Of Obesity Includes:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers (uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney and gallbladder)
  • Stroke
  • Back and joint pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • Depression
  • Snoring and difficulty sleeping
  • Hypertension
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Hirsute (presence of excess body and facial hair)
  • Stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by weak pelvic-floor muscles)
  • Psychological disorders such as depression
  • Increased surgical risk

Portions DO Matter: The size of your meals DOES matter. Modern consumers, especially children, have no idea how to eat normally. The average consumer eats almost twice the portions of food as twenty years ago. The marketing of artificial sweeteners has been a huge contributing factor to a change in the way people look at their meals. Jean Weininger from the San Francisco Chronicle, USA, writes, "Studies have shown that people who use artificial sweeteners don't necessarily reduce their consumption of sugar—or their total calorie intake. Having a diet soda makes it okay to eat a double cheeseburger and a chocolate mousse pie.” 

Instead of loading up on diet products, try cutting your portions of real food in half. Dr. Kristine Clark, RD, director of sports nutrition, Pennsylvania State University suggests: “Eat what you want, but eat half. Leave food on your plate—there is no such thing as a ‘Clean Plate Club!’” She emphasizes more physical activity on a daily basis along with modifying the portions of your foods and beverages. “This should break the cycle of weight gain,” she says.

Super-Size It! A single twenty-ounce bottle of soda is actually 2 1/2 servings. In America, muffins are the size of small cakes. “Care for a large order of French fries? It’s just a few cents more to super-size that order.”  That's a third of the total calories you should eat in one day! But do people resist the fries? Not usually. They order a large diet cola to justify the difference.

According to a new study by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are eating 300 more calories a day and men 168 more calories than twenty years ago. As any nutritionist will tell you, all it takes is one hundred extra calories a day to gain ten pounds a year. To work off those one hundred calories, you must walk twenty-five minutes every day.

In Sting’s first book, “Broken Music,” he writes about the first time he came to New York City. On a limited budget, he ordered a salad thinking this would be mere rabbit food, yet it was all he could afford. When the salad arrived at his table he was amazed at how large the portion was, and commented in his book that one of the first impressions he had about America was how much food we ate and how much larger the portions were compared to Europeans’.

Many experts feel Americans and the British overeat because much of the food that makes up their modern diet is inexpensive, dense with the taste of “fat” calories, and highly processed, so again, the food isn't satisfying, so we eat more to try to feel full.

How To Control Your Portions

Accurately estimating food portions can be difficult if you are dieting or hungry. This chart makes measuring simple and helps you estimate your portions correctly.

Food Portions:

    * One teaspoon (5 ml)

          -- about the size of the top half of your thumb

    * One ounce (28 g)

          -- approximately a one-inch cube of cheese

          - volume of four stacked dice

          - slice of cheese is about the size of a 3 1/2-inch computer disk

          - chunk of cheese is about as thick as two dominoes

          - one handful (palm) of nuts

    * Two ounces (57 g)

          - one small chicken leg or thigh

          - 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or tuna

    * Three ounces (85 g)

          - serving of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards (meat exchanges)

          - 1/2 of whole chicken breast

          - one medium pork chop

          - one small hamburger

          -  unbreaded fish fillet

    * 1/2 cup (118 ml)

          - fruit or vegetables can fit in the palm of your hand

          - about the volume of a tennis ball

    * 1 cup (236 ml)

         - about the size of a woman's fist

          - breakfast cereal goes halfway up the side of a standard cereal bowl

          - broccoli is about the size of a light bulb

    * One medium apple = a tennis ball

If you were on a budget and taking the kids out for a quick bite after a long day at work, which fast-food restaurant would you choose? 

  • Restaurant A serves a 2.8-ounce hamburger with a 2.4-ounce bag of fries, and a 6.5-fluid-ounce regular cola
  • Restaurant B serves a 4.3-ounce burger with cheese, a 7-ounce carton of fries, and a sixteen-fluid-ounce diet cola

Restaurant A represents the common take-out meal in 1954. Total caloric intake was 491 calories (including the cola), and no neurotoxins or carcinogens were in the drink. Restaurant B is the typical carryout in 2004. Super-size it for a total of 1,000 calories (cola included), and people seem to justify the larger portions by drinking “diet.” 

"Super-sizing is a public health issue of the highest priority," said Harvard University's Dr. George Blackburn, a professor of nutrition and surgery. Super-sizing has become so controversial these days, McDonald's, the corporation that popularized the ‘super-size’ concept, announced it was discontinuing its 42-ounce ‘super-size’ soda as well as its seven-ounce ‘super-size’ order of fries at all 13,000 U.S. stores as part of a "healthy lifestyle initiative.”

What Are We Teaching Our Younger Generation? Some of the most disturbing weight statistics are on children. Results from the 1999-2000 NHANES Survey, using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated fifteen percent of children and adolescents aged six to nineteen years are overweight. This represents a four percent increase from the overweight estimates of eleven percent obtained from NHANES III from 1988 to 1994.

As I’ve mentioned, this is nearly a three-fold jump since NutraSweet came on the market.No one can say with certainty whether one cause of childhood obesity outweighs another, but considerable blame can be placed on the fact that kids don't get enough proper nutrition and are consuming more and more diet products daily.

School Vending Machines: Ditch the Fizz! Children are encouraged to consume junk food at schools where the extensive influences of fast food and soft-drink companies are prominent. The wrong influences govern the types of food and drinks that are sold in schools.

There is a growing movement against soft drinks in public and private schools. School programs discouraging the sale of carbonated drinks appear to reduce obesity among children. A British study in London showed that reducing young students' intake of sweetened carbonated beverages reduced obesity among the students. A one-year ''ditch the fizz'' campaign discouraged both sweetened and diet soft drinks among elementary school children. The results showed a decrease in the percentage of children who were overweight or obese. The improvement occurred after a mere reduction of less than a can of soda a day. According to the study, a high intake of carbonated drinks contributed to childhood obesity.Apparently, such programs are working.

Of course, representatives of the soft drink industry contest these results, claiming carbonated drinks provide only a fraction of children's daily calories, and that they should not be blamed for the childhood obesity epidemic.

However, independent experts say otherwise: in Florida, USA, the Governor's Task Force on Obesity stopped short of admitting soda machines can make kids fat. They suggested a variety of remedies to the state's obesity epidemic—less TV, more exercise in schools—but did not recommend the removal of soda or snack machines from pubic campuses. “The machines often offer milk and other alternatives to carbonated drinks,” they stated.

Can we trust children to make good choices—after all, they are children!

Here’s a good example of how the soft drink industry markets to children:  COCA-COLA ANNOUNCES COCA-COLA ZERO®.Coca-Cola North America has introduced Coca-Cola Zero, a new zero-calorie cola to be on the grocery shelves in the United States beginning June 2005 and they actually admit targeting children by stating:

"Coca-Cola Zero is exactly what young adults told us they wanted - real Coca-Cola taste, zero calories and a new brand they can call their own," said Dan Dillon, vice president, Diet Portfolio, Coca-Cola North America. "Young people today do not want to compromise on flavor or calories and we think Coca-Cola Zero's taste and personality will appeal to them."

School vending machines raise considerable cash, funds that many high schools use to support athletic and other extra-curricular activities. Most school principals support the idea of choice and don't want to eliminate the “cash cow” of colas.

Most US state laws protect the sale of carbonated beverages on campuses if fruit juice is also sold. But many districts around the country are trying to get control of the situation in an effort to improve their students’ nutrition. In Broward County, Florida, the school board's policy permits vending machine sales for only one hour following the close of the last lunch period.

A British report studied 644 children, ages seven to eleven, in six primary schools in Christchurch, England during the 2001-2002 school year. One-half of the classes participated in a program discouraging both regular and diet sodas, stressing the benefits of a healthy diet, while the other half did not.

Consumption of soft drinks dropped by 0.6 glasses a day among the children in the study, but increased by 0.2 glasses a day among the children who did not participate in the program.

The percentage of overweight and obese children increased by 7.5 percent in

the group that did not participate in the program, and dipped by 0.2 percent among those who did.6

Corporate Marketing Myths

Do people use artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages for reasons other than dieting? Statistics show that seventy-three percent of low-calorie product consumers are not on a diet. For these people, "calorie consciousness" does not mean a commitment to weight control or weight loss. Instead, these "non-dieters" have the impression diet products are part of a healthy lifestyle. Who gave them that impression? Marketers!

Marketers promote to the public the importance of artificial sweeteners and diet products using the following myths:

Myth #1: Artificial sweeteners offer a way to control calories. Diet products have made "calorie juggling" a popular method for maintaining weight.

Myth #2: As part of a sensible weight-control program, artificial sweeteners can help consumers reduce calories to help them lose weight.

Myth #3: Artificial sweeteners and diet products provide weight-conscious people with a greater variety of food and beverage choices.

Myth #4: The ultimate success of any weight-loss program depends on the particular product—not on the responsibility of the individual.

Myth #5: Human and animal evidence supports complete artificial sweetener safety.

Myth #6: The majority of health professionals push diet products as beneficial for weight control and diabetes.

Don’t Worry—You Can Make Lifestyle Changes Gradually.

Try these suggestions:

*  In restaurants, share entrees or ask the waiter to put half the entree in a doggie bag before you even touch it.

*  Order lunch-sized portions. Many restaurants serve 4 to 6 ounces of meat at lunch, compared with 8 to 10 ounces at dinner.

*  At home, use smaller plates and bowls. It will look as if you're eating more.

*  Check food labels for serving size. Eat one serving only.

*  Drink water when you’re hungry for a snack.

*  Instead of drinking soda (regular or diet), drink water (add a squirt of lemon or lime for flavor).

*  Measure label servings to see their sizes.

*  Buy smaller packages of candy, popcorn and snacks, or better yet seek out healthy alternatives like raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruit, cheese and hardboiled eggs.

*  Do not eat or drink diet products with any meal.

* As you gradually reduce fake foods and artificial sweeteners in your daily meals, replacing them with whole, nutritious foods, your body will feel satisfied. It is only when you give your body plenty of the real food nutrients it needs and maintain a healthy level of activity that you will be able to eat until you feel full without gaining weight and without feeling hungry.

Don’t be discouraged. You can change your lifestyle, not with trendy chemical diets, but with the tried and true methods (whole, natural foods and moderate exercise) our bodies recognize and celebrate. Ditch the fizz and see how your body responds with vibrant health.

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Tordoff, Michael G., Physiology and Behavior, 47: 555-559, 1990.

Blundell, J.E., and Hill, A.J. Paradoxical effects of an intense sweetener (aspartame) on appetite. Lancet: 1092-1093, 1986.

Davidson, T, and Swithers, S. A Pavlovian Approach to the Problem of Obesity. International Journal of Obesity. July, 2004.

Neubert-Patterson, A. Study: Artificial sweetener may disrupt body’s ability to count calories. June 29, 2004.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/statobes.htm#what

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/yourweight/whatis_stats.shtml

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health. Soft drinks in schools, Pediatrics 2004;113: 152-154.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/yourweight/whatis_stats.shtml

Additional References:

Van Wymelbeke V, Beridot-Therond ME, de La Gueronniere V, Fantino M., Eur J Clin Nutr., Jan; 58(1):154-61, 2004, “Influence of repeated consumption of beverages containing sucrose or intense sweeteners on food intake”, National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14679381

“Portions Matter Nutrition Tips for Optimal Health”, Dr. Kristine Clark, RD Director of Sports Nutrition, Pennsylvania State University.

Barbara Rippel, “How Food Standards Are Approved”, Consumers' Research Magazine, Consumer Alert Column, April 2001.

International Food Standard Organization Faces Challenges, http://www.consumeralert.org/pubs/research/

Rolls BJ. Effects of intense sweeteners on hunger, food intake, and body weight: a review. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Apr; 53 (4):872-8.

SWEET CHOICES: Questions & Answers about Sweeteners in Low-Calorie Foods and Beverages,http://www.caloriecontrol.org/benefit.html

THE OBESITY CRISIS: Perils of portion distortion. Why Americans don't know when enough is enough. Kim Severson, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 2004.

Teff, K.L., Devine, J., and Engelman, K., Sweet taste: effect on cephalic phase insulin release in men, Physiol Behavior 57: 1089-95, 1995.

Ellington Darden, PhD, A Flat Stomach ASAP, Pocket Books, 1998.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/yourweight/whatis_stats.shtml

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/statobes.htm#what

BMJ USA: Editorial, “School soft drink intervention study. Too good to be true?” BMJ 2004;329:E315-E316 (14 August), doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7462.E315 http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/collection/obesity

Caballero B, Clay T, Davis SM, Ethelbah, B, et al., Pathways: a school-based, randomized controlled trial for the prevention of obesity in American Indian schoolchildren, Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78: 1030-1038.

Luepker RV, Perry CL, McKinlay SM, Nader PR, et al., Outcomes of a field trial to improve children's dietary patterns and physical activity. The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health. CATCH collaborative group. JAMA 1996;275: 768-776.

Rockett HR, Colditz GA., Assessing diets of children and adolescents., Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65(4 suppl): 1116s-1122s.

Murray DM., Design and analysis of group-randomized trials. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health. Soft drinks in schools, Pediatrics 2004;113: 152-154.

Prevalence of Overweight Among Children and Adolescents: United States, 1999-2002, Results from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/overwght99.htm

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