Did you start putting on pounds, suddenly or slowly — or slowly then suddenly?
There are many reasons for weight gain. The excess carbs and sugars in the SAD (Standard American Diet) are one reason — eventually it creates insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome X. Hormonal changes around pregnancy and peri-menopause (and andropause) are a trigger. Neurotransmitters – mood chemicals in the brain – are another: if your serotonin is low, you may have carb cravings in the late afternoon to help you get the amino acid tryptophan across the blood brain barrier. Many people have a combination of these factors.
Most of these changes are due to inflammatory processes that ramp up with meno/andropause. We’ll discuss these inflammation/weight gain issues in other posts.
Today we’ll focus on the role of the toxicity of diet drinks’ artificial sweeteners in weight gain. What many of us don’t understand is that diet sodas actually contribute to weight gain, in part because they are actually toxic to the body and the brain. (And the brain toxicity can make them addictive for some people – see more about this toward the end of this post.)
In 1991 the National Institutes of Health listed 167 possible side-effect symptoms of aspartame. The FDA receives more complaints about aspartame than any other food additive. It is a toxin that should never have been approved.
Jeffrey Bland, one of the leaders in functional medicine uses “The solution to pollution is dilution.” to describe why we gain weight in response to such ongoing toxic input. In trying to “spread out” the toxicity in order to reduce its concentration, the body must get larger – and larger – to have enough area to disperse the accumulating toxic byproducts of the sweeteners.
No published study has demonstrated that drinking diet soda will cause a person to lose weight. Rather, eight years of research on diet soda and weight gain was presented to the American Diabetes Association annual meeting in 2005. Sharon P. Fowler, MPH at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio: “What didn’t surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity,” Fowler reported. “What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher. There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day.”
(For a much more thorough discussion of the research, see www.arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/articles/diet_soda.html#dietsodas and www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/
Sandra Cabot, MD, an anti-NutriSweeet/aspartame campaigner, explains it this way:
“When you ingest the toxic chemical aspartame, it is absorbed from the intestines and passes immediately to the liver where it is taken inside the liver . . . The liver then breaks down (metabolizes) aspartame to its toxic components-phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. This process requires a lot of energy from the liver making less energy available for fat burning and metabolism, which will result in fat storing and elevated blood sugar levels. Excess fat may build up inside the liver cells causing ‘fatty liver’ and when this starts to occur it is extremely difficult to lose weight. In my vast experience any time that you overload the liver you will increase the tendency to gain weight easily. … The Trocho Study in Barcelona (l998) showed that the formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol accumulates in the cells and damages DNA with most toxicity in the liver but substantial toxicity in the adipose tissue (fat cells). … So as far as product liability is concerned, you have companies selling an excitoneurotoxic carcinogenic drug to the population as a sugarfree diet product knowing full well this government-approved artificial sweetener is actually causing the obesity it’s marketeers claim to be preventing. They also know that aspartame is addictive and that the methanol component is classified as a narcotic.”
This addictive quality of aspartame makes coming off of diet drinks challenging for some people.
So if you have tried to stop and not succeeded, be gentle with yourself; you are up against a formidable opponent. This can be similar to addiction to other narcotics, nicotine and alcohol for those whose biochemistry makes them more susceptible. Difficult, but not impossible to overcome, with the full understanding of what you are really up against and with appropriate support for the physical and mood changes that arise in a detoxification /withdrawal process.
For that support, it’s optimal to work with someone who knows how to help you through the detox/wash-out phases and help rebuild your liver, brain, adrenals, gut and insulin system. All of these organs and systems are disrupted by the diet drink toxic chemical assault. Mindfulness meditation, gentle focused exercise and emotional support are also helpful.
See alternativethyroidtherapy.com/detoxification/ for information about the excellent detox program I use and lelaccarney.com/mindfulness-mbsr/ for information about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs to help get through the discomfort of coming off of a toxic addictive substance. See Addiction ear points: healthinourownhands.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Ear-addiction-NADA-ACACD.pdf and other self-acupressure practices for easing the transition at healthinourownhands.info/self-acupressure/
Best wishes for successfully reclaiming your body, your brain and your health. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at (831) 479-3531.