I'm including a few brief excerpts from an HSI health newsletter (from the UK) that I'm pasting in because I can't provide a link to its source (it's in my personal e-mail), plus an update from SparkPeople regarding Stevia.
Even though I stopped using artificial sweeteners in the 1980s, I know a lot of people still use them, especially those who are dieting. So, here are a few brief paragraphs about non-US studies that will be very surprising to most people -- they were definitely surprising to me...
1. "One thing you shouldn't do when you're trying to lose a few pounds is reach for the artificial sweeteners... they can induce sugar cravings, or worse spike your insulin levels which play a pivotal role in the manufacture and accumulation of fat in your body. ... "
2. "...In a German study ó carried out at the Smell and Taste Clinic, University of Dresden Medical School ó researchers found that by just putting an artificial sweetener (saccharin) on the tongues of subjects caused insulin levels to rise. This can create false hunger that leads to overeating as well as cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods... just what you donít need when you're trying to watch your weight. ... "
3. "...a UK study at the University of Leeds found that women given saccharin-sweetened lemonade consumed considerably more calories overall compared to those drinking regular (sugary) lemonade. "
4. "...In another UK study at the Centre for Human Nutrition, Northern General Hospital, researchers found that subjects who had eaten yoghurt sweetened with saccharin were inclined to eat more than those who had eaten yoghurt sweetened with sugar. ..."
5. "...At the Monell Chemical Senses Centre, Philadelphia, in the US, researchers evaluated whether "sweetness" increases hunger. They concluded that artificial sweeteners (aspartame) have the capacity to stimulate the appetite along with other factors such as the concentration of the sweetener. "
6. "Professor Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science [??] at the University of Liverpool, says: "Artificial sweeteners can also activate the glucose sensor and increase the capacity of the intestine to absorb more sugar. You drink diet cola to stay slim but the reverse is true, because the artificial sweeteners can activate the sensor, so you are taking more glucose from your diet." He added: "If someone wants to lose weight, I donít think artificial sweeteners are going to help... My recommendation is to eat natural foods, but to eat less of them."
There are other articles regarding artificial sweetners at HSI's website called "The Healthier Life" here:
One warning: HSI is pushing their free PDF e-book (which is actually good, and it is free), so the ad will block your way until you agree to it -- I don't really like when they do that, but... Other than that, the site is OK and the info is good, although I prefer Reuters News Service.
By the way, whenever you're searching for reliable, up-to-date information on health and in-progress health studies, it's best to look for articles from the UK arm of Reuters (a news-wire service based in Germany), because Associated Press in the US often chooses not to distribute them on the wire -- and when they do, the articles are severely truncated. I discovered this in the past ten years of researching articles to use in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.
1. There is a "No Artificial Sweeteners" Team at SP with lots of good informational links, including a video link to an excellent documentary:
The team leader has told me that it's possible to join the team as an inactive member if you just want to display the "No Artificial Sweeteners" logo on your SparkPage to attract the attention of other members who may not know about the risks of using these products.
2. SparkPeople has an article on whether or not Stevia is safe.