Artificial sweeteners, increased appetite

(Robert Tinsley) #1

Artificial sweeteners, increased appetite.

Disclaimer: I don’t believe artificial sweeteners are bad for health. I have faith that the scientists who invented them, and the scientists who approved them at the regulatory agencies, did their due diligence and they are just fine, and so many billions and trillions of doses of them have been consumed over many years, that if there was even a minor health problem, epidemiologists would have seen it in the population by now.

However, I do have something to report.

I do keto and intermittent fasting. I’ve lost almost 200lbs, this is me. M/47, 400lbs to 207lbs, so... down 193lbs

When I switched from drinking artificially sweetened drinks, and deserts like sugar free jello’s, to drinking plain water and nothing sweet, it went from being a genuine effort to not overeat, to being quite difficult to cram enough calories down.

I’ve noticed this effect with 4 different sweeteners, stevia, aspartame, acesulfame potassium and pure sucralose. Eating things that just taste sweet seems to stimulate my appetite, in a substantial and powerful way. My desired food intake when not eating sweeteners is less than half that of my desired intake when consuming sweeteners.

It’s an issue for me because I try to average about a pound a week weight loss, no more, so as to not crash my metabolism, so sometimes if I’m really struggling to eat enough I’ll have to chug down some sweetened drinks and wait ten minutes to finish eating my calories.

(Geoffrey) #2

I will never trust any scientist to ever create a foodstuff that is healthy. It’s been shown time and time again that natural is always better. The less man touches our food the better off we are.
When I started carnivore I cut out all sugar and artificial sweeteners. First because I don’t need the insulin spike m. Second, because I don’t need the trigger and third because I don’t want to eat something artificial.
I’ll stay with real food.

(E P) #3

March is my first month without stevia, though I’ve been keto-trending-towards-carnivore for almost 2 yrs. Part of me is throwing an absolute tantrum about giving it up, even though it has caused all my food regrets lately. Seems like a good indicator that it’s addictive like sugar is, at least for me.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #4

Yep. It’s called the “cephalic-phase” insulin response, and it’s quite common. The sweet taste tells the brain there’s a glucose load coming, and it signals the pancreas to get ready by secreting insulin. When the glucose fails to arrive, there is an excess of serum insulin, which promotes fat storage, instead of fat metabolism. The higher the insulin, the slower the metabolism. The reverse is also true.

While artificial sweeteners are largely benign, they can be dangerous over the long term. The experts all recommend using them as a short-term crutch, but striving to get away from them as soon as possible. My main concern these days is about mitochondrial toxins, since mitochondrial damage seems to be at the root of almost all, if not all, of the chronic diseases that we see around us, from obesity to diabetes, to cardiovascular disease, to mental health problems, to motor-neuron diseases. I don’t know that artificial sweeteners cause mitochondrial damage, mind you, but it’s on my list of things to investigate.


Do what works best for you… It seems the sweet taste really helps you out! I would try to get more calories in different ways, maybe you can find something? I usually overeat but when I occasionally undereat, I usually still have better ideas than sweetened things. Those are to eat more eggs I like, I had days when I needed that… But it’s me and you do you!

But it’s quite interesting :slight_smile: I like my desserts and they easily make me want to eat more of them but a doubled desired intake? Wow. I never had it nearly as seriously. My unsweetened desserts are better, probably due to different things, I do know non-animal carbs mess with me, especially my hunger, appetite, control. I hate all sweeteners that doesn’t contain much carbs so IDK what would happen with them.
Sweetness is fine, even lots of sugars as long as I stick to carnivore (or even if I just close) :wink: So it isn’t the sweet flavor - but if I like the food, I may eat more of it, it just doesn’t matter if it’s savory, sour or sweet. Or neutral. My carni desserts tend to be close to neutral.
Creamy and liquid stuff is different again as it’s easier and quicker to eat. If I need more calories but don’t want normal food, drinking my calories crosses my mind too. I doubt it would be good in big amounts but sometimes I just need a little extra and it can help me out there.

So it’s a complex thing.

I have no problem with sweeteners (the ones I can eat), per se but they aren’t food, you know. If they are helpful or an occasional joy, why not? But after I ate sweets nearly every time I ate for decades, I wanted to break free. It’s better that way. I still cling to my desserts but they aren’t sweets most of the time :wink: But these changes took many years. I needed a lot of sweets on keto when I was a beginner, that was that part of my journey. My SO still eats sweet desserts all the time, often cake for breakfast, it’s how he rolls and I see no problem if that suits him. I just wouldn’t want that for myself. We are different but quite health-conscious so it’s fine. He sweetens his food with either xylitol or fruit and not overly much, it seems good enough. It’s that or something worse so he did the right choice and it worked well this far. It is surely way better than the sugar we ate before.

I don’t put a huge trust in natural things compared to artificial ones (I prefer natural things, usually, it makes sense but it’s not “natural things are great and artificial ones are bad”). Sugar can be very much natural and I hate it in more than tiny amounts (or as added sugar). Stevia leaves are natural. Xylitol exists in Nature too… And neurotoxin as well but that’s easy to figure out, no need to wait for decades for the damage… But I don’t KNOW that sweeteners are surely fine and which of them, I just suppose so at this point - but skipping them would do huge harm to my SO’s diet while I eat close to zero sweetener. So we won’t change our ways for now. But we wouldn’t use sweeteners willy-nilly, that’s just wrong. It’s the same with everything, really, overeating fat is wrong and probably at least a bit harmful too… I don’t want to burden my body but I do want to easy things and making a good diet possible to begin with… I would have quit keto without sweetener, I very badly needed my sweet desserts in abundance. But I only used as little as I had to (surely sometimes a tad more but I did try and the amounts dropped more and more).

(KM) #6

Does is work for you if you eat something that’s actually got glucose / fructose in it?

Personally I’d much rather pop a couple of raisins or frozen grapes in my mouth than an artificial sweetener.(I do mean just enough to wake up the CPI response, not a whole serving.) Seems to me the insulin response would be the same, although it could throw ketosis off a bit.

I also have a funny response that’s opposite, and probably a learned thing. For a long time, I had to end my meal with dessert or I’d just go on eating. “Dessert” could be a mint or a quarter cup of berries, it just had to be something sweet and solid. (Pretty sure this is a throwback from childhood, where the last course of the meal was sweet and then eating time was over, period.)

(Brian) #7

Interesting. I don’t notice it with “sweet” tastes as much as I do with more carb heavy starchy things like potatoes or pasta.


Hello I have exactly the same experience with any sort of artificial sweetener or sugar in fact. I find them all very triggering.

(Robin) #9

Hi Robert, I also use sweeteners. Mostly a stevia blend.
I don’t have any issues with them. But I do believe that drinking sweet things makes me crave sweet things.
I don’t really struggle with that anymore, because I’m used to it and know my boundaries. BUT I know it is satisfying a sweet tooth that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. So I understand your experience.

I applaud your diligent monitoring and adjusting. Good job.
Keep after it!

(Marianne) #10

Was it difficult for you to make the switch? I have such a hard time drinking plain water. I use the Crush squirt additive to my water and find it delicious, but I often wonder if it is stalling my progress. My eating is clean and I’ve started walking, but I am losing my remaining pounds at a very slow pace. I wonder how much of a difference switching to plain water would make. Only one way to find out, I guess.


Same! Interestingly - or not… -, carnivore changed this too :smiley: I still need my desserts but not always and if I eat a really sweet one (off carnivore) or any non-animal carbs, I must eat some fatty protein. That is the last solid food now :slight_smile: I am unable to finish my meal with an old sweet dessert at home, I start to crave fatty protein and I have it here so no way I could resist :wink: I eat my bite of dry sausage or whatever and all is well.
I can finish my meal with a normal carnivore dessert though.

(Brian) #12

FWIW, I’m not really a fan of plain water, either.

Something that we do, not sure if you’d find it satisfying or desirable…

We have a glass half-gallon jug in the refrigerator. A lemon gets cut up and put into the bottom of the jug. It’s filled with water. We continue to refill the jug with water when we get a drink out of it, typically at meal time. The lemon is pretty strong for the first little bit but then gets rather pleasant. When we feel like it’s time, we’ll put a new lemon in the jug and repeat.

Have heard of some people doing that with cucumber or a few other things but we tend to stick with the lemon. And I probably use the same lemon for longer than what some would. But even after several days, it still gives some flavor to the water such that it’s not just “plain” anymore.

FWIW. Good luck!

(Marianne) #13

Once again, hugely informative. Okay, so I’ve started on plain water, and so far, it’s been okay. Helps to know how much I am helping out my body.

(Geoffrey) #14

I’ve never really understood some peoples aversion to drinking water. I guess it’s from drinking nothing but cokes and fruit juice all their lives.
For me, living in a hot climate all my life, nothing is better than a glass of clean water.
I’ve always liked iced water. In fact I practically crave it, even in the winter time but I cut way back on the ice water because I was told that it can inhibit proper digestion. So now it’s just tap water.
You might try drinking your water with some ice in it. It might help you get started.
I view water now just like I do my food. It’s for my body’s nutrition and wellbeing, not pleasure.

(Brian) #15

Maybe just a difference in people. One might say they don’t understand why some people don’t like the taste of beets or cilantro.

Clean water… that’s not as easy to come by as it once was, at least for many. We do have an RO system and some carbon filtration that goes with. I do sometimes drink that straight. Still, I find it quite boring, and when the filters get some age on them, some of the nasty tastes start coming through. Good clean well water is kinda rare here, wish we had it.

You’re not wrong if you like it. Makes life easier. :slight_smile:


I drank bad water (and lived in a place where I couldn’t get anything else), it’s understandable people avoid that.
But people have it with the best water too… I don’t understand why everything must be super flavorful and fancy… We see this with all kind of food as well but people can’t even use a lip balm without some fruity fragrance (I get it, I love when it has some fruit smell :smiley: I was spoiled as a kid too, with all those modern flavored items)… I consider it to be a bit too much at this point.

While I totally want to enjoy my food and drinks, water is mostly for hydration. It doesn’t need to be exciting. It’s water. But even I can find it boring, I just find this feeling very wrong as it shouldn’t matter in the case of water. But if I am truly thirsty, I really enjoy my pretty okay tap water :wink: So there is hope for me.

(Robert Tinsley) #18

It would probably work physically but I really can’t have a supply of sugars in the house, I once bought chocolate for my brothers kids for Christmas, and they didn’t pick it up until well into the new year when they got back from vacation. That was a nightmare, I had many, many internal arguments to convince myself to not eat it and then replace it. I’m totally a sugar addict.

(Robert Tinsley) #19

I will report back in a few months when I feel like I’ve really succeeded. It doesn’t bother me on fasting days, but it’s still problematic on feeding days. My diet is a work in progress.

(Robert Tinsley) #20

I was adding lots of lemon juice to my water several months ago, then my dentist advised against it because it softens the enamel for a couple hours after drinking it… so… plain water, here we are. :roll_eyes: Everything nice is bad.

(Robert Tinsley) #21

I think it’s like that with every bad habit that’s a trap, it’s incomprehensible until you’re on the inside, then it’s like “Oh crap, now I’ve stepped in it too!”.