Are artificial sweeteners bad? Part II
So my previous post today got a lot of people talking, and rightly so.
Diet coke and other diet products are a big point of contention. I used diet coke as an example as it's one of the most commonly consumed diet products today, something everyone can relate too.
In the context of weight management there is no reason why diet coke and other similar products can not be in the diet.
Are they 'ideal'?
Of course not, I believe a whole, one-ingredient diet should be the focus of our nutritional intake, for EVERYONE, but no-one lives their life that way 100% of the time. So we need to take away the guilt and demonisation of products when people do want them, cause now and again they are ok.
Most people are not going to be 100% one-ingredient food eaters for the rest of their life all the time, there is going to be a little bit of 'non-optimal' food in there, and having that now and again should NOT be demonised, and we shouldn't feel guilty consuming it.
The bigger question for many with products like diet coke might be...
Are they healthy?
Again while there are many claims that they are unhealthy, the claims only match up in some cases.
Some people asked me, 'why would you want to consume it?'
I personally don't, I largely drink tea, coffee and water, but some might...
And I want to remove the demonised cloak around such products for when people do want it now and again.
Do I think it should be a daily habit, no.
Do I feel it's ok now and again, maybe 1-2x a week, yes.
One study that is very interesting on the negatives to health is how sweeteners can affect gut flora....
This is awesome research seeing as many people have compromised gut function. So with that in mind, if you present gut issues, or are concerned about potential chemical effects in things like diet coke, don't consume it.
Link to gut research: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13793.html#access
Could gut dysbiosis be linked to health disorders in the future, you bet, so could artificial sweeteners be linked to some disorders in the future, potentially...
Can sweet foods stimulate some to want more sweet foods, sometimes yes, but then is that the sweetener or just that sweet foods are often high in calorie and the body is attracted to those kinds of tastes....
This outlines some interesting health outcomes, but again with MASSIVE doses, and or regular doses, and in CORRELATION with poor lifestyle choices...
The researchers summarised:
"However, current findings suggest that caution about the overall sweetening of the diet is warranted, regardless of whether the sweetener provides energy directly or not."
They summarised this as they still do not know, which in the context of my diet, and your diet, and looking at having maybe 1-2x diet drinks or similar products a week, are we going to see a negative effect?
A lot of the scare stories and research with artificial sweeteners are observed when people (or largely rats / mice) consume up 25,000x what normal people consume.
That's drinking 100's and 100's of cans of coke a day.
That is a massive supra-physiological dose.
Supra-physiological doses of anything can be bad, anti-oxidants being of prime example, high vitamin C intake can be bad, same with Vitamin E.
Normal ranges of a lot of things are ok.
That's no me saying artificial sweeteners are normal, but I am putting this into context.
So the big question remains, in the quantities that most people consume things, lets say 2-3x diet drinks a week, does this pose a health issue to humans?
The research would indicate no.
If you have research that indicates the contrary (not articles), then please do post it and I will create part 3 to this story, but let me summarise so there is no confusion:
- People should eat a diet that is 95% real food
- But we should exercise balance and control that balance when we want it (i.e. non optimal food choices, knowing the effects, calorie load etc).
- A diet coke, or any diet product, in the doses that we usually consume them in shouldn't, as far as we know, pose an issue to human health (thats assuming we might have them 1-2x a week, I'm not taking about daily consumption or multiple times a day)
- Let's stop demonising foods for people, but educate them on where and why balance needs to be cut, for them.
- Is it OPTIMAL to have zero toxins in ones diet and environment, of course, 100%, but will we ever live that life.... No. So we need to decide on a personal level what we feel is acceptable for health and body composition and our optimal and non-optimal intakes.
A few people said they lost faith in my message...
I've been in this industry helping people for 8 years now, not once have I strayed from a message that people should eat a whole one-ingredient food for 95% of their diet.
But I am presenting an opposing argument for how we slice moderation, and whether those little bits of moderation are ok.
And yes they are ok, from what I can see, so far...
Will that opinion change, maybe, I am always open to learning new ways and techniques for health & performance...