Tyler Robbins Fitness

Tyler Robbins has his B.Sc. in Biochemistry: Pre-Medical, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), is certified through USA Weightlifting, and a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer.

Day 192 - Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity?


This is not the first time artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity, although this is the first time I have come across a study with a direct correlation like this.

In the past, I have seen studies that have concluded that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of obesity in individuals due to the natural processes of the human body. Let me explain.

When someone consumes something that is sweet, there are a number of 'triggers' that are orchestrated in the human body. One of the first signals to the brain comes from tasting something sweet in your mouth. When the brain recognizes the fact that something sweet is being consumed, it signals to the pancreas to be ready for an insulin dose to meet the sugar coming to the digestive system.

Unfortunately, when eating something with artificial sweeteners in it, the insulin spike becomes pointless, as it has no sugar to locate in the food that has been consumed, which, ironically enough, causes a blood sugar dip. When the brain notices a dip in blood sugar, it turns on the sugar cravings.

Yes, that's right, it is theorized that by consuming artificial sweeteners, all you are doing is tricking your body into thinking that it wants more sweets! Needless to say, this can cause a vicious cycle of craving more and more sugar. That has been the subject of study in the past, and has been shown to increase the risk of obesity as individuals who consume artificial sweeteners (AS) tend to consume more calories.

This study, on the other hand, took a look at similar diets in lab rats. When comparing diets on a calorie by calorie basis, the study found that the lab rats who consumed artificial sweeteners had a higher weight gain. The authors speculate that the weight gain is caused by decreased energy expenditure and water retention, which is interesting and telling on its own.

In my opinion, you are almost always better off eating regular, energy-filled sugar. Why? Because it actually serves a purpose - energy! As this study explains, the lab rats that consumed AS, had lower energy expenditure, yet still consumed similar amounts of calories. You should always try and limit your sugar consumption to that which is needed for your activity level, but at least go for the stuff that tastes good AND gives you a jolt of energy. Stay away from that other stuff that just tricks you into wanting more...

Quote of the day:
"If opportunity does not knock, build a door."
~ Milton Berle

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