Sweeteners: The Inside Scoop

In an effort to better our diets, we often look for healthier choices — especially when it comes to sugar alternatives. Instead of sugar, a large number of shoppers reach for low calorie artificial sweeteners, believing that doing so will offer a similar taste without the guilt and adverse health effects. According to preliminary research, however, artificial sweeteners can do more harm than good. Study results recently presented at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society’s 99th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, showed that low calorie, artificial sweeteners could be detrimental to the body’s metabolism.

Results showed that “large consumption of these sugar substitutes could promote fat accumulation, especially in people who are already obese.” Researchers found that there was an increase in glucose transport into cell and overexpression of fat-producing genes, as well as an overexpression of sweet taste receptors in fat tissue.

“We believe that low calorie sweeteners promote additional fat formation by allowing more glucose to enter the cells, and promotes inflammation, which may be more detrimental in obese individuals,” says Sabyasachi Sen, MD, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the study’s principal investigator.

Researchers believe that the findings signify metabolic dysregulation causing cellular mechanisms to make more fat. The effects were most apparent in “obese individuals who consumed low-calorie sweeteners, rather than individuals of normal weight.”

So how do we educate ourselves more about these sweeteners and how it affects obese and overweight patients? For starters, join us on Wednesday, June 14 at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) for a complementary webcast featuring Registered Dietitian Laurie Shank entitled, How Sweet it is:  Navigating the World of Natural and Artificial Sweeteners. During the webcast, Laurie will discuss commonly used types of natural, caloric sweeteners in the U.S. food supply, as well as the types of artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. while identifying the health risks and benefits of caloric and non-caloric sweetening agents as they relate to health and weight management.

If you want to learn more about artificial sweeteners and the effects on the body this is a presentation you don’t want to miss! To register and find out more, click here.

Source: Endocrine Society

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


Is Food Your Friend or Enemy?

Frequently, patients tell me they want to
“change their relationship with food.”  This lofty-sounding desire is
often expressed after significant weight loss following a diet, after a
life-changing event or during recovery from disordered eating. Some
refer to it as making “peace” with food, as if they have been at war
with it all their lives. And perhaps they have.

How we change
that (food) relationship — or not — greatly depends upon how we view
food. Merriam-Webster.com (medically) defines food as: “Material
consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the
body of an organism to sustain growth, repair and vital processes and to
furnish energy.” Food is, first and foremost, the important fuel that
keeps the body alive. So, it makes sense that quality “fuel” put into
the body would produce a healthier-running organism.

But beyond
being a source of macro and micro-nutrients, food also provides
pleasure. Nature could have permanently provided us earthly inhabitants
with some bland-tasting, gray-colored sustenance to meet our nutritional
requirements for survival. Instead, nutrition is packaged in a plethora
of delightful colors, smells, tastes and textures. Along with man-made
food preparation methods, we now have a phenomenal multiplicity of
choices. “Extreme variety” —with food available almost as soon as we can
imagine it — is both a blessing and a curse. And one could argue that
the availability of today’s super palatable convenience foods doesn’t
help. So, we need to know how to reasonably combine nutrition and
pleasure, calories and nutrient density. We need balance.

if we want to truly improve our food relationship, we have to slow down,
learn to savor and listen to our bodies. When we dismiss our bodies’
hunger signals (usually pretty discernable) and satiety signals
(sometimes more like a whisper), our food behavior can move us quickly
from starved to stuffed — neither of which is a positive or pleasurable
experience. And while we also need to learn that mild hunger is not
something to be feared (most of us are blessed enough not to experience
food insecurity) our concern with seeking food and thoughts about food
also should not interfere with daily life.

Lastly, food really
needs to be food. It can’t substitute for or squelch our emotional
expression on a regular basis. If our “default” is to eat when an
emotion arises, we are no longer nourishing ourselves as intended. Food
is not a persona — not our “friend” or our “enemy.” To put food back in
its place, people often initially need some structure. Planning meals
and snacks at regular intervals, eating a wide variety of plant foods,
lean proteins, whole grains, healthful fats, drinking enough water and
tracking intake are some sensible ways to start. And because food
attitudes, just like emotions, can be contagious, having a good “food
mentor” is not a bad idea.

So improving one’s food relationship —
just like a relationship between people — involves the
desire/willingness to change, which takes times and effort. There is no
room for self-blame or blaming others for our personal food history
because, as adults, we are each responsible for the food we put in our
mouths. There is only room for learning and growing, one day at a time —
one meal at a time. Sometimes we can do this on our own and sometimes,
as with relationships, we need outside help. And it takes patience. But
the rewards of improving one’s food relationship are very rich, and go
beyond weight management to include health, a sense of gratitude,
confidence, and a growing appreciation for nature. It’s never too late
to start the process

Blog written by By Rosemary Mueller, MPH, RDN, LDN, Advocate Medical Group — Advocate Weight Management


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