When Robert Lustig, MD published  Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease in December 2012 he waffled on the issue of Artificial Sweeteners and Diet Soda and their impact on metabolism and weight loss.  He had several concerns, one of which he wrote:

Here’s a hypothetical concern. You drink a soda. The tongue tastes either sugar or diet sweetener—it doesn’t know which— and sends the “sweet” signal to the hypothalamus, which says, “Hey, a sugar load is coming, get ready to metabolize it.” The hypothalamus then sends a signal along the vagus nerve to the pancreas , saying, “A sugar load is coming , get ready to release extra insulin.” If the “sweet” signal is from a diet sweetener, the sugar never comes. What happens next? Does the hypothalamus say, “Oh, well… I’ll just chill until the next meal,” or does it say, “WTF? I’m all primed for the extra sugar. I’ll go find some.” We don’t know if the brain compensates for the lack of Sugar. (p. 194). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition

A recent article on Yahoo: 15 Worst Snacks for Weight Loss, The Editors of Prevention, Healthy Living. by Jessica Girdwain, made the following statement about diet sodas:

Many people drink zero calorie sodas when trying to stave off hunger between meals. However, the artificial sweetener you’re knocking back along with the bubbles has been linked to an increased risk of weight gain–the sweeteners may negatively impact your metabolism, as well as throw off your brain’s ability to regulate your appetite, finds a 2013 study in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 

Here is the on-line Abstract from Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism Volume 24, Issue 9, September 2013, Pages 431–441, Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements, Susan E. Swithers, Department of Psychological Sciences and Ingestive Behavior Research Center, Purdue University, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

The negative impact of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages on weight and other health outcomes has been increasingly recognized; therefore, many people have turned to high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin as a way to reduce the risk of these consequences. However, accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This paper discusses these findings and considers the hypothesis that consuming sweet-tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy homeostasis. Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements.

I read that Chapter of “Fat Chance” just yesterday, and this article in Yahoo today. 

I wonder what Dr. Lustig would have written in “Fat Chance” if this study had been available to him?  Would he still be an “Agnostic” on the issue?

Advertisements