In light of the obesity epidemic of recent decades, it is clear our sugar intake has increased drastically, including our intake of artificial sweeteners. There are many who believe that artificial sweeteners are the solution to our obesity epidemic, but are they really a lesser evil?

Did you know that aspartame was initially developed as a medical treatment for stomach ulcers? [1] This means your tabletop sweetener or that can of diet coke you’ve just consumed was originally intended to be a prescription drug.

Aspartame and saccharine are the most common artificial sweeteners encountered on a daily basis, and they can usually be found in your breakfast cereal, diet sodas, tabletop sweeteners and more. While they may well be low in calories, what is the price you pay for the alternative? Medical studies have indicated a possible connection between aspartame and migraines [2], and headaches [3]. Sucralose, an active compound in many cartificial sweetenersommercial sweeteners on the market, has also recently been found to trigger migraines [4].

Depression can also manifest from the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Regular dosages of aspartame have been found to decrease serotonin levels, which is the main cause of depression in the brains of mice [5]. Individuals suffering from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are advised against the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners since they are more sensitive to the adverse effects of aspartame [6].

There have been numerous studies and discussions about the carcinogenic properties of artificial sweeteners. Whether aspartame or saccharine causes cancer is the subject of much debate, with numerous studies yielding inconclusive results. One Argentinean study [7] cites aspartame usage as the main cause of urinary tract tumors. Others suggest the FDA re-evaluate their position on the safety of aspartame in light of recent studies on animals, linking cancer risks to artificial sweetener consumption [8].

Additional health risks may be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. One possibility is that the long-term intake of aspartame may impair the liver’s antioxidant status and could lead to liver injury [9]. Those suffering from fibromyalgia should also be cautious with their aspartame intake, since it may induce a curable but chronic pain [10].

Many switch over to artificial sweeteners for weight loss purposes. However, it may be the sweeteners themselves that contribute to obesity. With the rise of the obesity epidemic correlating with the use of artificial sweeteners, studies have been conducted to ascertain whether there is a link. Some theories postulate that sweeteners such as aspartame induce hunger cravings, causing us eat more and therefore gain weight, but results thus far have been contradictory and inconclusive [11].

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References:

[1] R.G. Bianchi, E.T. Muir, D.L. Cook, E.F. Nutting, J Environ Pathol Toxicol. 1980 Jun-Jul;3(5-6):355-62.
[2] R.B. Lipton, L.C. Newman, J.S. Cohen & S. Solomon, Headache. 1989
[3] S.K. Van den Eeden et al, Neurology. 1994 Oct;44(10):1787-93.
[4] M.E. Bigal & A.V. Krymchantowski, Headache. 2006 Mar;46(3):515-7.
[5] R.P. Sharma & R.A. Coulombe Jr., Food Chem Toxicol. 1987 Aug;25(8):565-8.
[6] R.G. Walton, R. Hudak & R.J. Green-Waite, Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Jul 1-15;34(1-2):13-7.
[7] M.M. Andreatta, S.E. Muñoz, M.J. Lantieri, A.R. Eynard, A. Navarro, Prev Med. 2008 Jul;47(1):136-9. Epub 2008 Apr 8
[8] J. Huff & J. LaDou, Int J Occup Environ Health. 2007 Oct-Dec;13(4):446-8.
[9] M. Abhilash, M.V. Paul, M.V. Varghese, R.H. Nair, Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6 Suppl 63):S131-3. Epub 2010 Dec 22.
[10] R. Ciappuccini et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6 Suppl 63):S131-3. Epub 2010 Dec 22.
[11] F. Bellisie & A. Drewnowski, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):691-700. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Xtreme Health Chiropractic Center, servicing Walnut Creek CA, makes sure you get the best Walnut Creek chiropractic service from the chiropractors.

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boost-metabolism

Boost your metabolism with this advice from your local walnut creek chiropractor

Metabolism refers to the rate at which your body burns calories. Your metabolic rate is your personal “calories-per-hour” number. Your metabolism is lowest while you sleep and highest during and right after vigorous exercise. Here are a few tips for raising your metabolism:

1. DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST

The morning meal jump starts your metabolism and helps to prevent bingeing later in the day. A cup of coffee does not count – the caffeine and added sugar may give you a bit of energy and suppress your appetite for a little while, but generally backfires causing severe hunger and overeating later in the day. Breakfast should include complex carbohydrates like whole grain (granola or oatmeal), along with some protein and fat (low-fat yogurt or milk) to keep your energy levels even and hunger in check.

TIP! If you are able to, exercise first thing in the morning. It will get your metabolism going for the day.

2. EAT MORE OFTEN

Get into the habit of eating every three to four hours or at least four times a day. Eating frequently stabilizes blood sugar. When blood sugar drops too low you want to eat…a lot. By keeping your blood sugar stable you can control your appetite and keep your metabolic rate high. When you go many hours without eating your body will compensate by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy.

3. EAT PROTEIN AT EVERY MEAL

TIP! To keep your body functioning at an optimal level, it is important that you try to eat and exercise at the same time every day. This is the best way to keep your metabolism up and to keep your digestive system working efficiently.

Protein takes more energy and time to digest and will leave you feeling full longer than eating carbohydrates alone. Research shows that eating more protein can help you lose weight without cutting calories. Try these protein possibilities: turkey on whole wheat; hummus and pita; vegetarian chili; fruit and nuts; or protein snack bars that contain 12 or more grams of protein.

4. HOLD OFF ON SNACKING

Many of us grab a snack for quick energy when we are feeling tired, but do not confuse true hunger with fatigue. If you are feeling tired go for a 15-20 minute brisk walk. This will raise your heart rate and give you a boost of energy. Follow it up with a large glass of cool water. If you are truly hungry have a protein- and complex carbohydrate-rich snacks like whole wheat crackers and peanut butter or cheese.

TIP! Always plan your workout before you eat. Not only will you feel lighter and more ready to run or lift, but your body will not be focusing any energy on digesting.

5. CONSUME ENOUGH FOR YOUR BODY’S NEEDS

Eating too little slows your body’s metabolism the same way eating too infrequently does. If you want to lose weight, do not slash your calories too drastically. Instead, cut out some of the extras in your diet – things like soda, juice, packaged goods or candy. Processed foods tend to be high in fat and calories and low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that your metabolic rate is controlled by many factors. You can exert a fair amount of control over many of these factors. This article has emphasized how your diet affects your metabolism, but clearly, the movement is the other major factor.