Diet Sweeteners And Epidemic Obesity

Do you use diet sweeteners to help you lose weight or at the very least, to keep you from gaining more unwanted pounds? According to researchers, there is no clear-cut evidence that sugar substitutes are useful in weight reduction. On the contrary, there is evidence that artificial sweeteners may stimulate appetite, causing weight gain. Aspartame has been on the market for over two decades, and we are now facing an international obesity epidemic among over 60 percent of both adults and children.

It's never enough: artificial sweeteners create an artificial need. People forget that originally, sweetness was actually a by-product of food: nature's way to encourage living creatures to consume nutritious foods. Forced sweetness, revved-up sweetness, and artificial sweetness - all altered foods - are a trap that addict people to sweeter tastes.

Artificial sweeteners are marketed as having "more sweetness with no penalty of weight gain." People with eating disorders, children who are first learning about healthy food habits, diabetics and those with degenerative illnesses are being seduced by advertising campaigns touting that these chemicals are not only safe, but beneficial to human health.

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 aspartame and diet sweetener use are directly related to weight gain. Over twenty years ago, independent researchers warned us that aspartame would cause weight gain - and look at us now.

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). 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 chemical sweetener 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.

But the diet sweetener corporations deny there is a connection between chemical sweeteners and epidemic obesity, eating disorders, food addictions, and related diseases. They have left the proof to the consumer, who is now getting the picture, but at great personal cost.

Try these tips: Instead of loading up on diet products, try cutting your portions of real food in half. 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."

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.

Reality check: 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?
1. Restaurant A serves a 2.8-ounce hamburger with a 2.4-ounce bag of fries, and a 6.5-fluid-ounce regular cola
2. 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."

What are we teaching our younger generation? Some of the most disturbing weight statistics concern 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.

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, they sit more, and consume more and more diet products and artificial sweeteners daily.

Posted October 2005 | Permanent Link

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