The link between diet soda and weight gain has been growing for quite some time, but late last month a study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed there is a connection between diabetes and these aspartame-sweetened beverages as well.
Of course, diet sodas sweetened with aspartame and the like were develop to prevent exactly the sort of disease it could be triggering. Buy why? The study observed four groups of mice for 18 months. Group one was fed a normal diet and water, group two was fed a normal diet and water infused with aspartame, group three was fed a high fat diet and water, and group four was fed a high fat diet and water infused with aspartame. The results were compelling.
Groups two and four, both receiving aspartame-infused water, showed signs of glucose intolerance by the time the study concluded. Group four mice also gained more weight on the high fat diet than the mice in group three, who also ate a high fat diet, but sans aspartame. Glucose intolerance, a precursor of diabetes, and weight gain resulted from the ingestion of aspartame.
Often times, studies like this use inflated amounts of chemicals that no human would ever consume. That wasn’t the case with these researchers. The amount of aspartame that the mice were fed varied between the equivalent of two to three and a half cans. That’s not to say that can-a-day drinkers couldn’t be affected, but the levels of aspartame given to the mice were fairly reasonable.
Researchers suggested the exact reason why aspartame induced these conditions is because it stops an important enzyme, called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) from working properly. This enzyme would otherwise inhibit the absorption of endotoxins (think toxins). When these endotoxins are free to build up, inflammatory conditions, including diabetes and obesity, can result.
Aspartame isn’t in diet soda alone. This chemical is also present in many chewing gums, syrups, yogurts, sports drinks and energy bars. The best way to know of what you’re eating has aspartame in it is simply to read the label.