Artificial Sweetners and Insulin

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    Artificial Sweetners and Insulin


    In his column in MD, Dexter Jackson advised someone to use artificial sweetners b/c they still cause an insulin spike, w/o the sugar. Do you guys think there is anything to this? If so, would this effect dieting and bulking?

    I keep my diet low GI to avoid the insulin spikes, but I love splenda and cinnamon on whole wheat bagels. I hope I'm not unknowingly sabotaging my efforts. The thing is, if I'm keeping my blood sugar stable, maybe an increase in insulin isn't so problematic.

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    It's something that has been brought up before. The argument is that when you taste the sweetness your body automatically produces insulin because it is preparing for some form of carb.

    I honestly can't imagine that this is the case, and if it is. I would like to think that its not that big of a deal, you basically secrete insulinw ith any foods that you eat. However when I saw this argument presented, which of course I can't remember where now. There were studies to back both arguments.
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    Hmmmmm

    My box of Splenda says safe for diabetics, but I suppose it would be b/c they are not going to secrete insulin, and their blood sugar would not be affected.
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    I have heard this theory before as well and just doesnt make sense. Elevated insulin levels in the absence of elevated blood glucose levels results in hypoglycemia. A condition that can be fatal.

    So hypothetically you could easily kill yourself with sucralose, stevia, or any other zero-calorie sweetener.

    Given that people arent dropping like flies on artificial sweeteners I would say either it is bunk or the effect is negligible.
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    Here's an article that makes sense writtien by Chris Aceto.

    Question: Do you know if diet sodas affect insulin? I always feel somewhat bloated and watery after drinking diet coke.



    Answer: This is another one of those questions that doesn’t have a “Yes or No” answer because it deals with hormone levels – insulin – and hormones can be influenced by everything from food, stress, training, sleep and sex.

    Diet soda’s are ok in my book. Because they yield zero calories, I always recommend dieters drink them – and as much as they want. In fact, bodybuilders are always asking me “Do I have to cut out diet soda before competition?” Typically, I answer no. Why cut out something that doesn’t add any calories? On the flip side, diet soda is sweat and sweat things have the potential to increase the secretion of insulin. Generally, we think of carbohydrates as the chief inducer of insulin. When you eat carbohydrate foods, they dissolve into glucose – the most basic unit of carbohydrates – and the amount of glucose in your blood is correlated with the amount of insulin you produce. So; 2 bagels would, in theory, produce an insulin surge twice that of one bagel. The importance: insulin is a fat storing hormone. It shuts off the burning of body fat and increases the fat storing machinery in the body. The other downside to excessive insulin for dieters and bodybuilders: it increases the amount of aldosterone in the body, the body’s main water retaining hormone. When you gouge on tons of carbs, expect to experience an insulin burst which can not only make you fatter but force the body to hold onto excess body water which can hinder and hide crisp muscle definition.

    Though glucose from carbohydrates is the main mechanism for increasing insulin, it turns out things that taste sweat can also increase insulin levels. It’s also postulated just thinking about sweat foods can also increase insulin. Before you poo-poo that idea, we know imagining fear and internalizing fearful situations can cause a massive amount of stress hormone secretion in the body. You can dream of being killed and the reality is – the body reacts on a hormonal basis equal to that of the real thing; extreme fear! That idea carries over into your situation. Even though diet soda does not have calories, it can trigger in some – an insulin release that could blur definition. Keep in mind, two important concepts in regard to gaining body fat. Calories count. When you eat more than the body needs, you gain body fat. However, hormones also count. When you eat what you believe to be close to maintenance levels of calories – you’re not over eating, but insulin levels (hormones) are continuously elevated due to drinking 2 liters of diet soda a day, it’s possible that sweat sensation could undermine your success at getting leaner.

    One important point I make in my book Everything You need To Know About Fat Loss; not everyone produces the same amount of insulin. If you are fat you produce more than a lean counterpart. For example, the 200 pounder with 20% body fat releases more insulin than the 200 pounder with only 10% body fat – even eating the same food. So two people, both weighing 200 pounds and eating a large potato, can experience very different levels of insulin secretion which ultimately influences body fat levels and water retention. Other factors besides body fat, also influence insulin secretion, I just wanted to point out that hormone levels can vary greatly and in your situation, it just may be that the diet soda you are consuming is sufficient to keep your own insulin levels elevated enough to interfere with fat loss and blur muscle definition.

    Of course, there are several studies showing hydrating the body can increase the metabolism. One study showed diuretic pills (pills that help make you go to the bathroom) given to women decreases the metabolism by 2% while other studies have shown fully hydrating the body can increase the metabolism anywhere from 2-3%. So drinking a lot of fluid from diet soda might just “cancel the pro’s and cons out.” By that, I mean the sweat taste could increase insulin levels which is technically a bad thing for fat loss and water retention, while drinking a lot of fluid could slightly increase the metabolism and help shed water sitting beneath the skin and blurring definition. Net gains for most: zero. However, if you really struggle with losing weight and water retention, you might want to skip the diet soda or at the very least reduce your intake
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    I don't know who Chris Aceto is or what his qualifications are but this doesnt sound completely accurate.

    Firstly, insulin is not a fat storing hormone. It can function as such but is not limited to it. In general it facilitates nutrient uptake. If it were strictly limited to fat metabolism it would be useless for building lean tissue.

    Secondly, what I touched on before, is that insulin lowers blood glucose levels - always. You need a certain level of BG to maintain brain function and to keep cells alive. At rest a normal person will have about 5mmol/L of BG. Below 4 you can start to feel hypo - adrenaline being released. Heading down into the 2's there is noticeable loss of coordination. By zero the person should be unconscious and brain death would be setting in.

    To illustrate quantities, take a medium banana, say 125g. That will have about 30g of carbs. Just for eating that I would take about 2 iu of insulin. Each unit of insulin is good for lowering BG about 3 mmol/L - for a total of 6. Now say I take the 2 iu but dont eat the banana: 5 minus 6 gets to zero BG - dead me. Of course adrenaline and maybe glucagon would help to prop BG up enough to barely stay alive.

    So even if your body was expecting 1 iu worth of carbs with that sweet taste you would still go down into the 2's and there would be very obvious symptoms of hypoglycemia. Since there is not rampant diet soda induced hypoglycemia, IMO there are 3 possible explanations:

    - The insulin level produced, if any, by a sweet taste is a statistical blip (say the amount generated by a Tic Tac).

    - There have to be a large release of opposing hormones (adrenaline which would give you the shakes and/or glucagon which should counter the insulin's anabolic effect).

    - Zero calorie sweeteners raise blood glucose by some unknown mechanism and cause a corresponding release of insulin.

    Obviously the last two don't hold water since you would feel the adrenaline and we know that zero cal sweeteners are safe for diabetics.

    At the end of the article he does say that the net difference is likely zero - I just don't like how he got there.
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    Hey Nitrox,
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    Just as a personal experience, I have had blood work done (Comp Metabolic Panel) within an hour of eating a bowl of Splenda laden All-Bran cereal and it had zero affect on my blood glucose. It was 84, just like the last 3 times it was checked and I was fasting for the 3 previous ones. For me, I can't see Splenda causing you any trouble Beowolf, or All-Bran cereal for that matter. Just adding my two cents.
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    Chris Aceto


    Chris is a personal trainer, dietician, and editor for Muscle & Fitness, Flex and has written several books. He is also the husband to Laura Creavalle former female bb placed 2nd in Ms. Olympia contest a few times. He was my trainer at Gold's in Venice and ran the Gold's nutrional program in the early 1990s. I took the program he designed for me and compared it to what Bobo designed for me and they are quite similar with the exception of Chris's had no regard for GI index. But that was in 1992. So does he know his ****, I think so, he has personally managed the precontest diets of most of the top 10 bbs, so I don't think they would go to someone who is going to screw it up.
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    I don't know how many of you guys have ever picked up Arizona Diet Green Tea, but it says for diabetics to consult their physician prior to drinking..

    Always wondered about this myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beowulf
    In his column in MD, Dexter Jackson advised someone to use artificial sweetners b/c they still cause an insulin spike, w/o the sugar. Do you guys think there is anything to this? If so, would this effect dieting and bulking?

    I keep my diet low GI to avoid the insulin spikes, but I love splenda and cinnamon on whole wheat bagels. I hope I'm not unknowingly sabotaging my efforts. The thing is, if I'm keeping my blood sugar stable, maybe an increase in insulin isn't so problematic.
    Dude if your putting splenda on bagels you would see no effect on the amount of insulin released. Now if you just chilled in front of the TV having no carbo ingestion for the last three days and ate one of those big bakers bags of splenda I am sure you could induce an insuln secretion. FYI if your trying to keep insulin levels under control of course monitor type and amount of carbs but try to limit your protein intake to <50 grams an intake and of course never gourge yourelf on anything. Hope this helps some.
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    good discussion!
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    that sweet taste will trigger saliva, and digestive enzymes, but not insulin; insulin is released in response to carbs, and the higher on the GI the more strongly it's triggered, therefore the bigger the pulse.

    there may well be zero-calorie sweeteners that jigger the insulin response, but it would be because they're affecting blood sugar levels - not because they taste sweet. Artificial sweeteners have problems of their own, but they're generally not the same problems that natural sweeteners have.

    don't claim to train athletes, but low blood sugar kept me out of the army & out of Viet Nam; I've been coping w/ this **** for 40 years. Successfully, I might add (so far).
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieTrying
    I don't know how many of you guys have ever picked up Arizona Diet Green Tea, but it says for diabetics to consult their physician prior to drinking..

    Always wondered about this myself.

    I remember reading a few yrs back that green tea can increase insulin sensitivity.
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    There's going to be a new sweetner/carbohydrate with a ridiculously low GI on the market soon. Stay tuned!
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    i wonder if anyone has actually tested the sweetners that say no cals..no carbs etc. I wonder if it is a similar situation with "fat free" foods that list 0g fat, but then have the hydrogenated oils in them..which we all know "adds an insignificant amount of fat"...according to them that is.
  

  
 

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