Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Questions and Answers

Can I use Splenda/Equal everyday?

When my clients learn that eliminating sugar is an absolute key to losing weight, this question naturally follows. Unfortunately, the answer is no, you cannot use non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda and Equal on a daily basis.

Contrary to popular opinion, non-nutritive sweeteners, like Splenda and Equal, are very well tested and safe to consume in moderation. However, there are 2 problems with them that prevents me from recommending them for everyday use.

Problem #1: They perpetuate cravings for refined carbohydrates. When you eliminate sugar and strictly limit refined carbs like bread, pasta, and white rice, it is typical to go through a withdrawal for a few weeks where you really miss them. After this period, your desire for these foods drops almost to zero. It really is miraculous how you stop craving the wrong carbs when your blood sugar stabilizes. This is a big reason why my clients lose so much weight, they just aren’t nearly as hungry. However, I have found that daily use of the non-nutritive sweeteners perpetuates cravings for sugars and refined carbs. This is problematic because any diet where you are fighting hunger and cravings is destined to fail long term.

Problem #2: The cephalic response. If I was to put your favorite food in front of you, your nose would smell it, your eyes would see it, and you actually release digestive enzymes before you even put a bite into your mouth. This phenomenon is called the cephalic response.  There is some evidence that this response is recruited when consuming non-nutritive sweeteners. Your body senses the sweet taste and releases insulin anyway. This release of insulin can lead to an unstable blood sugar.

In light of these two issues, I only recommend the use of Splenda and other non-nutritive sweeteners twice per week on cheat meals.


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