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MaryW's avatar

Are sugar substitutes addictive or is the thought of losing weight addictive.

Asked by MaryW (1726points) July 18th, 2010

My sister drinks several sodas a day with sugar substitute instead of sugar as the sweetner. She is gaining weight and is suffering migraines and diabetes 2. She will not stop. I have talked to her often. The only change she now makes is to say “Sorry, I know, I know.” to us before she drinks her 5 th or 6th for the day. So what do you think, is the sugar substitute addictive?

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18 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’m not sure there have been studies done to prove or disprove this… but I genuinely believe they are addictive. I personally notice that if I drink or eat something with an artificial sweetener in it – I crave more. Or, I crave something else sweet. I have heard that they can trigger just the same as a sugar addiction because the body can not tell the difference.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The addiction is the body’s want of “sweet”. My mom’s dr. just told her to cut out diet sodas all together and anything else she drinks/eats with artificial sweeteners because it makes her body build craving instead of weaning off like when quitting sugars all together. I agree because I notice I really really crave my diet soda each day (I allow 1 but sometimes cheat and drink more) more than when I first quit sugars. The brain wants sweet :(

meagan's avatar

She should know that aspartame can kill her. You know, the ingredient that makes sugar free sodas taste… mildly enjoyable.

jazmina88's avatar

I quit regular pops and drink only diet drinks. I lost 40 lbs. I love unsweet tea with sweet n low.
It’s carbs that you have to worry about, and sometimes sugar free means more carbs. You have to read labels. I’m diabetic…..I know. Diabetics are often very thirsty as well. I didnt like water for almost 40 years. Finding a tasty and healthy drink is not easy.

If I would drink a regular soda, I would almost pass out. So things could be worse.

Coloma's avatar

I buy the mini cans of diet pepsi and only have the half serving, but mostly I drink tons of bottled water and healthy fruit juices with low sugar.

I do think regular sugar is highly addictive, if I get on a dessert jag for a week or so it is hard to quit.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@meagan The evidence to suggest that aspartame will kill you in the quantatites used as a sweetner is pretty thin

meagan's avatar

@Lightlyseared Yeah, but I didn’t say that. Generally, aspartame can harm you.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@meagan Aspartame is the most test food additive in the world. Repeated studies carried out over many years have demonstrated its safety. Generally, aspartame does’t harm you.

meagan's avatar

@Lightlyseared And people drink milk. Milk isn’t even good for you. People that drink milk are more likely to get cancer.
Just because people drink something.. doesn’t mean its good for them. Even if the Government tells you so.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@meagan I see you are a black and white sort of person. Somethiing is either completey good for you or it may cause you harm and therefore should be avoided totally. Yes, there are a couple of studies that show that drinking milk from cows treated with growth hormone may cause a very slight increase in the statisitical risk of developing certain cancers. There are however many well documented, proven benefits to drinking milk. If you are willing to give up milk so as to possibly, slighlty reduce your risk of developing one type of cancer while massively increasing your risk of developing bowel cancer, for example, then good for you.

llewis's avatar

The sweet taste is addictive. Artificial sweeteners and fructose (and fructose is not actually the form of sugar found in fruit) do not trigger the body to tell you that you’ve had “enough”. It’s better to use natural sweeteners (unless you have diabetes) that will work correctly with your body, and also to train our tastes and wean ourselves away from the overly sweet tastes and towards naturally occurring sugars that are good for us, like fruit.

Here are a couple of articles on aspartame:

http://www.sweetpoison.com/about-sweetpoison.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/americas-deadliest-sweete_b_630549.html?ref=twitter

Dutchess_III's avatar

It may be the caffeine that she’s addicted to.

Cruiser's avatar

Sodas are the worst thing you could drink and artificial sweeteners are linked to all sorts of side effects. Drink water or Crown Royal!

Jabe73's avatar

Artificial sweeteners are not healthy. Better alternatives are splenda or xyilitol. I’m not sure if they make soda with these natural sweetners however.

mattbrowne's avatar

Artificial sweeteners are NOT addictive. And unless eaten in excessive quantities they are not unhealthy and most people don’t experience any side effects. Sugar is NOT addictive either. Too much sugar with little exercise is unhealthy. There obsessive-compulsive disorders related to eating. Caffeine might be mildly addictive to some people. Here are some real addictive substances: alcohol, nicotine, valium, cocaine, meth.

Shock warnings about the effects of soda and/or aspartame usually lead to the so-called nocebo effect: people feel bad after having a diet coke because they are supposed to feel bad. It’s like the placebo effect. Just with a minus sign in front of it…

llewis's avatar

You can blame about anything on the nocebo effect. I got headaches from aspartame – long before I “knew” I was supposed to feel bad.

We keep putting things into our bodies that God / nature never intended, then wonder why we are sick and obese, or just don’t feel good.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Jabe73 sucralose (Splenda) is an artificial sweetener. I have had lessons in the lab where it was discovered.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@llewis I have a feeling that just about everything we put in our bodies now-a-days, even when we’re trying to eat right, God didn’t intend to have us put in our bodies!

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