remember this commercial from the 80’s? genius!

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a long time, but wanted to gather up some more links and research to support the basis of my opinions.  As part of our Spring Leaning challenge, I’m also participating in the 30 day induction period which for me is not too much of a shift because I do eat this way 90% of the time.  The main things I’m giving up are: a bit of cream in my coffee, being cool at social events (aka: having some drinks!) and the baked good(s) that I always treat myself to on weekends.  To take my own induction period to the next level I decided to give up Gum.  Having previously worked for a company that makes gum I had 100’s of packs near my desk everyday and probably chewed about 6 pieces per day.  I don’t work there anymore so I decided it was time to give it up.  Why? After reading Primal Body, Primal Mind – BTW, this is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.  Especially if you’ve ever suffered from depression or other mental illnesses as 1/3 of the book is about modern day foods influence on these disorders.  In the book, she writes, “Eliminate use of aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame-K, saccharin and all other artificial sweeteners.  Period. Avoid them like the plague.  Studies show these are more likely to make you fat than thin, as well as increasing your risk for cancer and numerous other health problems.”  Yikes! That was harsh and it made me seriously assess my consumption of aspartame via gum and prompted me to research it further.  Hence, this post.

First, let’s take this from a “look good naked” perspective.  Artificial sweeteners are like a ‘c***- tease’ (sorry to my parents for the foul reference, but it’s true) to your brain.  Robb Wolf uses the excellent analogy of “Food Porn” as it tricks your brain into thinking that you ate something and your body reacts accordingly.  Here is an excerpt (loosely transcribed) from Robb Wolf’s Paleolithic Solution Episode 22There is so much data on the anticipatory nature (read: visual or fake food stimulation) of eating and how that influences insulin.  People actually get an insulin response off of this.  Historically the understanding of insulin was 100% tied to blood glucose levels and it was assumed that because artificial sweeteners don’t increase blood glucose levels that there could be no insulin release or metabolic effects.  They have found now that it can release insulin.  It ‘chuck and jives’ the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that regulates energy metabolism) into thinking that we consumed nutrients when we didn’t and that can cause a break between our normal  increase in metabolic rate in response to food.  This is where we find people who are eating low-calorie in excess (that includes artificial sweeteners) not losing weight because they’re not getting the normal thermic effect out of food.  Does it effect everybody the same way? No, but neither does being outside in the sun.

This is basically saying that your body can release insulin in response to the stimulus of artificial sweeteners.  Insulin is your fat storage hormone.  If you want to look good naked, you want to keep your insulin low and have improved insulin sensitivity.  Cut the aspartame, and you cut your risk of increasing insulin. Simple.

mmmm....food porn

 

Now that we’ve covered this off from a vanity perspective, let’s look at the health side of it.  There are a million sites with really scary information out there on what aspartame can do to you (see all my links at the bottom).  All you need to do is google, “aspartame” and “dangers” and you’ll find sites with research on this stuff including entire books and documentaries.  There are 92 different symptoms linked to aspartame consumption.  From ADHD to brain tumours to migraines, it has been linked to so many ailments.  I don’t want to preach to y’all, but I’d love for you to investigate for yourself and make your own choice.  For me, the decision is like choosing not to smoke cigarettes.   Now I’m not saying that gum is remotely close to ciggy’s, but I believe things can add up over time.  Having been an avid gum chewer (Sucralose is 1st ingredient + 10mg of aspartame + 2mg of Sorbitol per piece) and diet pop drinker (180mg of aspartame per can) for years and years, I think it’s time that I cleared it out of my system.   I gave up diet pop several months ago, but I was still a big gum chewer.  So far, it’s been really nice not having it – I’m brushing my teeth after I eat instead of chewing gum and I’m finding my mouth feels so much cleaner and stays fresher for longer (i’m aware that they put sweeteners in toothpaste too, but I don’t swallow!  Uh oh…was that another porn reference? Sorry mom & dad!). 

Here are some helpful links that I used to read up on this stuff:
Dorway.com
MDA on Artificial Sweeteners
MDA on Gum
Dr Benkim – 5 simple reasons not to chew gum
Aspartame Toxicity Info Centre
Sweet Misery – Documentary on Aspartame
Article from Oxygen Magazine

Again, all you need to do is google “Aspartame” or “Artificial Sweeteners” and “Insulin” or “Insulin Resistance” or “Health Risks” or “Cancer” etc etc and you can read up on it yourself. 

Cue music….