Day 1 of the Healthy Steps 21-Day ‘No Added Sweeteners Challenge’

Today’s the day! If you’ve been following our last few posts, you know that today is Day 1 of our No Added Sweetener Challenge. Check out the great benefits of decreasing your intake of sweeteners here and read all about what foods to avoid here.

You may have noticed in last week’s post that we are recommending avoiding not only Sugar but also Sugar Substitutes, even the calorie-free ones. Here’s why.

  1. If you avoid all sweeteners, you can increase your palate’s sensitivity to the subtle sweetness of natural foods like whole fruit, vegetables, and unsweetened dairy. If you continue using sugar substitutes like non-caloric sweeteners, your palate won’t adjust.
  1. All sweeteners stimulate the same area in the brain, which signals your body to prepare for carbohydrate (i.e., release insulin). Stimulating this area of the brain—whether from sugar or non-caloric sweeteners—has been linked in studies to increased appetite and cravings later in the day.
  1. When your body prepares for energy (as carbohydrates) but doesn’t get any (as in non-caloric sweeteners), things can get a little wiggy. Research indicates consumption of non-caloric sweeteners on a regular basis weakens hunger and satiety signaling in the body, by decoupling sensory signals from post-ingestive signals. This can mean more overeating later and trouble with portion control.
  1. Artificial Sweetener use has been linked to an INCREASED risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease—just like sugar.
  1. Artificial Sweeteners negatively impact the gut microbiome. Having a healthy balance of the good bacteria (“probiotics”) you should avoid both sugar (which feeds the bad guys) and artificial sweeteners (which harms the good guys)

Now you see why it’s helpful to cut out both added sugars and sugar substitutes during our 21 day ‘No Added Sweetener Challenge’!

Lindsay Pasdera, MS RDN

Research studies of interest:

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