Wednesday, February 13, 2008

See?!?... I Don't Make This Stuff Up

Finally I'm vindicated by both mainstream media and science! Remember when I told you NOT to drink/eat artificial sweeteners? Well it turns out my theories were on the money. So put down the Diet Coke and walk away. Because people that crap is not helping you lose weight, in fact it may very well be making it harder for you to do so. Don't believe me? Well the scientists at Perdue do... you can read about their study HERE... there is a video too (with Diane Sawyer no less... watch it!)

You think I don't have something more to say on the topic?!... You should know me better than that by now.


Daniela said...

Since I'm a big believer in reading source articles mentioned in the media, since the media can cherry-pick the information to suit the emphasis of whichever point they're selling, I read one of my medical research sources (I use it for work, usually) and came up with this article:, as well as the original study:, which is actually good reading if you have a somewhat decent science background.

Mrs. Furious said...

Thanks for the extra research!
I had a bunch of articles to link to but feared overwhelming my public ;)
I'm happy you found the original study!

Here are her links in link form:
Here and Here.

PS I hope things are better on the job front for you guys!

Marie said...

Very interesting..I try to avoid ANY artificial sweetners for my girls. I would much rather them have real sugar than the fake stuff. It's surprising what they'll put it in too..I bought a container of fruit once and made sure it was in pear juice rather than syrup, but when I got home realized it was sweetened with Splenda. I couldn't figure out
WHY you would need to sweeten fruit, and I tasted it (curious) and it was weird..

Of course, I still enjoy the occasional Diet Coke (bad mommy, but its just sooo good!). The latest "unnatural" ingredient we've tried to avoid is HFCS. Just went grocery shopping the first time this week and read all the labels..that stuff is in EVERYTHING!! I did manage to avoid it in everything but the bread...every loaf I picked up had it in it..even the ones labeled "all natural". I think I may just start baking more at home rather than just once a week or so...

Anyways, keep the articles coming! I love finding out that things that I just "feel" are bad are REALLY bad and I'm not just a crazy mom!

Marie said...

BTW, I did find a Whole Foods near me (ok, 45 minutes away, but I have to go 30 minutes to the regular grocery store anyways!). I think I may try them next shopping trip..hoping that it'll be easier to find healthy foods with less artificial stuff...

Daniela said...

Regarding the job front... the husband has an interview tomorrow at a bank. Not his dream job, but it is getting close to the bottom of the barrel. In the meantime, I opened an eBay store selling clothing. It is doing quite well; we're able to buy our normal grocery load once again. The inheritance is paying the major bills, but I don't like to tap into it. I'd rather go without luxuries like Netflix and our zoo membership (for the meantime.) One trip to the zoo for my family equals the cost of a membership, so it is inevitable that we'll get one; just not yet.

So, keep your fingers crossed. One of the local companies is expanding and they're looking at hiring 150 people when their new facility is completed in September. If all else fails, I'll have to go to work outside of the casa so that we can have benefits.

Mrs. Furious said...

Nothing at Whole Foods has trans fats, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or HFCS. So it is definitely worth going if only every so often to stock up and maybe identify brands you might be able to find at your local store.
I buy the Aunt Millie's Organic 100% Whole Wheat bread and it is free of HFCS.
Mr F won't eat it (he is a hard convert) but Kid actually prefers it. It is a bit drier than regular... but what do you want it doesn't have all the preservatives in it.
If you make homemade I just got this tip in my King Arthur baking sheets... replace 2-3T of your liquid with OJ for Whole Wheat breads and it will soften the flavor. I did it yesterday and it was good!

Mrs. Furious said...

I'm sorry. I hope the bank job comes through! Suzy Ormond recommends Starbucks... I guess they give full benefits for part-time work. I saw that on Oprah ;)

shelley said...

Thanks for the great information! I've been trying to resolve to drop the diet coke the past few weeks and this gave me that extra nudge I needed.

Mr Furious said...

Mr F won't eat it

Mr F doesn't prefer it. It'll do in a pinch. It's good for toast, but I like a softer bread for PB&J.

Mr Furious said...

You guys wouldn't believe how excited / vindicated Mrs F was over this sweetener thing. She's been pushing this for years.

Nutmeg said...

The original article says basically "we need to study this link further." Right after they essentially say "Correlation doesn't imply causation."

Diet soda intake is correlated with metabolic syndrome, but doesn't necessarily cause it and I'm not going to be convinced of causation until I see a RCT.

THAT SAID, I consume very few artificial sweeteners and generally think people shouldn't mess with the systems which have evolved to process the foods we eat, including high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated fats, as our bodies don't necessarily contain the mechanisms to deal with these relatively novel chemicals.

Mrs. Furious said...

I've read the original study and listened to the interviews with the authors. I don't agree that what they are saying is quite as simplified as the way you present it. They admit this is a study on RATS not humans and they are hypothesizing that due to the RAT results but keeping that in consideration (and in comparison to many other rat studies) the results would VERY LIKELY be the same in a human population.
It is my opinion, and my strong belief, that people should err on the side of caution when dealing with
artificial sweeteners. I'm not saying HFCS or trans fats etc are BETTER than artificial sweeteners we don't eat those either... but I think it is bad and I believe that many dieters rely heavily on chemicals and processed foods to maintain their weight loss and I don't agree that that is the best or safest and certainly not the healthiest way to do it.

Mr Furious said...


You could say the same thing about sacharrin in 1975 or anything else...Heck, you could've said it about smoking fifty years ago. The point isn't whether or not this study is conclusive, it's that it bolsters a pretty good anecdotal case, and supports something Mrs F has long believed.

And the larger point about behavior remains. Clearly Diet "anything" was developed to allow you to eat something less-healthy without the guilt. Not a good habit, and seemingly not without cost.

Mrs. Furious said...

Oooh Watch Out... when Mr F's got my back everyone should take notice! That shit doesn't happen everyday.. okay it does.... just not always so publicly ;)

Word. If you all watch my video that is exactly my point. Artificial sweeteners are only put in foods you shouldn't be consuming anyway... soda, crappy sweet yogurts, sweetened juices (wtf?), etc. I think you can look at foods containing artificial sweeteners and across the board these are foods you can do (and should) without and the artificial sweetener just allows you to keep an unhealthy food in your diet guilt free. These are all foods/drinks that without the option of getting sugar-free you would have dumped when you started dieting or trying to eat healthier.

Mrs. Furious said...

good luck!

Amy said...

yeah yeah. i know. i read all those articles too. if only my freakin' appetite would house my brain, i'd be fine and give up the damn diet pepsi! i feel like slime every time i drink it - but at least the slime is comforted. Mrs. F, you've motivated me on so many fronts - if you keep pushing this No diet soda thing, eventually I'll be converted but it's going to be even harder than exercise or eating less, even if it IS really much better for my body, lol.

anyway, what I'm dying to know is...what the freak is HFCS?

Mrs. Furious said...

well I'll do my best to slowly break you ;)

High Fructose Corn Syrup... you know what is in regular soda!

Mrs. Furious said...

oh and Amy,
I do know it is hard to give up.. I actually have the same issue with regular soda, it is my #1 vice. But I have been able to give it up. For me I like to drink sparkling mineral water in its place for some reason the bubbles still make me mentally comforted. I also like unsweetened iced tea (only fresh brewed not that nasty Nestea crap) and if I'm at a restaurant I'll get that. For me though even having one soda is a slippery slope and it is best for me not to have it in the house and have very strict rules about when I can have one. I just went through a little slip and had to go back to cold turkey on it.

Robin said...

I have also believed for a while that artificial sweeteners make it harder for people to lose weight. How many fat people do you see drinking tons of diet soda? A lot.

It's fine with me. I think all those artificial sweeteners taste like ass. :) I just use plain old sugar and watch my portions. And for the occasional soda, I drink the regular kind.

katieo said...

I just don't see it as a big deal.
If you're living on skinny cows, crystal lite, and splenda, there's probably something wrong there, you know? I don't think the majority of people WANT to see the link. Because heaven forbid, they'd have to start eating vegetables. And let's face it, the way most people are today, they a) want convenience. A skinny cow ice cream sandwich is easier and more tasty than, let's say... a salad) and b) they want to have their cake and eat it too.

I don't ban all artificial sweeteners from our house, but then again, we don't eat that many. (but I will admit they are in sneaky places! I just don't think it's enough to do severe damage)

Anyway, back to my point, article or no article, if you're relying on "diet" stuff too heavily, you're going to run into problems. Like what happens if and when you reach where you want to you stick with the splenda? Or do you go back to real sugar? "Diet" anything (eh, with the exception of Diet Cokers. There are some hardcore addicts out there who aren't even trying to lose weight...) seems to imply beginning and end. And when there's an "end," that usually means gaining weight.

This favorite part of the article was at the end when the essentially said, if you're consuming this stuff all the time, rethink it. Once in awhile, not such a big deal. (very rough paraphrase...sorry)

(haven't watched the video yet, gotta go get the boy from the bus stop!)

Mrs. Furious said...

" How many fat people do you see drinking tons of diet soda? A lot."

and I agree with you on the taste front. The author of the study said in the Diane Sawyer interview something about how people either like the taste or don't (and I have found this to be true people either love it or hate it) are the same people who shouldn't be drinking it. I'd have to watch it again for her exact words but it made a lot of sense. Something like "if you can't contemplate giving it up then that may be the sign that it has in fact changed your brain chemistry" There is really nothing different about this than any other chemical addiction.

Mrs. Furious said...

yes I agree. You'll have to watch the video... but I am essentially making some of the same points.

I think many people eat/drink diet foods because like you say "they want their cake and to eat it too" and that to actually successfully lose weight you need to learn that "cake" is an occasional treat. Artificial sweeteners allow a loop hole that in the end I think doesn't help people lose or maintain. Because they never adjust their taste buds from the sweet taste they are likely not to be able to maintain.

Also I do think the fact that there are so many "diet coke" addicts is proof enough that there is something to the fact that the artificial sweeteners do in fact change your brain chemistry. I mean really think about it.

katieo said...

Agree, Agree.

(and Sally Jesse Rapheal, LOL, I look back and think "HOW the crap did that lady have a talk show"?)

Mrs. Furious said...

that's nothing...

how was ALF or that crazy sitcom with the dinosaur family (you know "not the mama! not the mama!) popular prime time shows?!?

katieo said...

"not the mama!"
I had totally forgotten about that!

Nutmeg said...

We read different studies! :)

The one I read was about metabolic syndrome (which is mentioned in this NYT article You need a subscription to the journal to get this article (which I can mail anyone who wants it). It is compelling, but they do indeed say that their information is correlative and that further study should be done (they say further study should be done because they think the correlation is actually causative).

I don't have time right now to read the study with the rats (and I'm sorry I assumed I had read the one you were citing), but I don't actually have anything negative to say about animal models. I think they are very often valid. My only point is that people too often hear or read a study which correlates one thing with another and jump to not entirely accurate assumptions based on a faulty understanding of what statistics shows them. This is just a particular bugaboo of mine, because it is really important to what I do.

I really don't DOUBT that if a RCT were done trying to show that drinking diet soda caused metabolic syndrome (which leads to heart disease, etc.) it would in fact show that it did. My point was really just a statistical one.

Julie said...

I gotta admit...I love my skinny cow fudge bar:) I have one almost every the end of the day when the kids are in bed.

I'd eat good ol' ice cream every night, but that's what got me where I am right now.

Its ingredients are: skim milk, sugar, corn syrup, water, polydextrose (yum), cocoa, cream and stabilizer(double yum). It has 4 whopping grams of fiber (from the polydextrose.)

It'll be on my food diary every day. It's either that or a bottle of wine after a day with the kids:)

Julie said...

Note to Marie regarding the HFCS in breads...I don't know if they have these brands of bread everywhere, but these breads do NOT contain HFCS and you can get them in New England (where I live):

Gold Medal
Country Kitchen All Natural Whole Grain
Barowsky's Organic breads
Martins Famous Potato bread (they have whole wheat, hot dog rolls, etc)

These breads are all soft enough, too. My husband takes a PBJ to work every day on whatever whole grain bread I buy...and PBJs are not as good on a dry wheat bread (I used to buy the Vermont Bread company's bread, but even their "soft" is a bit like cardboard...which is fine for me, but not my husband.)

Oh yeah, I get any of these at my local grocery store...I don't need to go to Whole Foods for my bread. I live an hour away from Whole Foods.

Marie said...

Julie-thanks for the list! I'll definitely look for them next time at the grocery store. I'm also in New England, and I know some of those names, so I'm sure they should be at Stop and Shop. My dh actually loves the Martin Potato Rolls, so I'm sure the bread is yummy too! My great attempt was by picking up a loaf, reading, amazed that it contained HFCS, put down, repeat about 15 times before I just grabbed our regular bread and called it a day. (at that point I was happy that only ONE item had it in it).

Mrs. Furious said...

I'm not sure if that is the Purdue study that they cited in the NYT or not. The Purdue study was all over the place yesterday though. They did three different rat experiments. I know they said there was a correlation with metabolic disorders I don't think they did say causation although they felt strongly that that might be the case.
I don't have time to keep re-reading it plus I really can't read the word "rat" even without getting a little creeped out! But it is definitely research that supports my theories and in the end that is all that matters ;)

Nutmeg said...

No, Mrs. F.. the purdue study wasn't the one the NYT was talking about theirs was a study that looked at people and followed them and their diet choices over many years and how they correlated with the development of metabolic syndrome. Interestingly, I'd heard for several years on the winds about the theories behind the Purdue study and thought at the time it was completely plausible and I agree that the current study supports your theories. Sorry to keep saying the nasty word before. :( The one I was referring to was in Circulation. There are no unpleasant animals in it, so if you'd like I can mail you the .pdf for your light, relaxing reading.

Mrs. Furious said...

oh sure send me the pdf

Daniela said...

Unfortunately, the nearest Starbucks is over an hour and a half away (driving!)

I have a relatively successful business, but no benefits. I have too many assets to qualify for any sort of state-assisted healthcare for my kids, so it's likely that I'll be looking for work just so I can have them. I have a really good work ethic anyway and I suppose having an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe would be nice (since I can pretty much work in jeans.) We'll have to see on the bank front though.

Daniela said...

Oh, and Mr. F said you've been pushing against artifical sweetners for years. Do you know about Parents Against Junk Food? We're basically trying to band together to stop schools from being an advertising mecca for HFCS-laden products, junk, snack machines (hey, we didn't have snack machines in our school!) and really crappy school lunch fare. The really great thing is that the people running the show are working hard to get legislation passed to encourage healthier fare in schools.

Here's yet one more link for you:

Mrs. Furious said...

polydextrose is a sugar alcohol and not the kind of artificial sweetener that these studies refer to. They're talking about saccharin, splenda, aspartame, nutrasweet aka "saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame K".

So chow down ;)

Mrs. Furious said...

we went through the same thing a couple years ago with Mr F's business he ended up taking a 2nd job for the benefits and he's been doing both ever since. Still looking for one good job to replace the two but so far that isn't happening yet.

megO said...

Generally, when scientists say that they need "to study something further," that is as close as they get to announcing they absolutely found a correlation.

Common sense plus a little chemistry backs these studies up.

I avoid artificial sweeteners at all cost. I gag at the sight of their creepy little symbols.

Now I must get back to my "Bring Whole Foods to Alaska" letter writing campaign...

Mrs. Furious said...

"Generally, when scientists say that they need "to study something further," that is as close as they get to announcing they absolutely found a correlation. "
word. That is so freaking true.

Good luck with the Whole Foods campaign. Hey at least Target will be bringing their organic line to you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a topic. I too didn't have a clue what HFCS was. Now I have to check if it is in my bread. lol.

I generally don't do diet pepsi anymore. I used to, but once I started drinking all that water, the diet pepsi lost its appeal to me. I think the only thing I eat with artificial sweetner is yogurt. So, I may need to research new yogurts to find one without. I certainly don't need any help in the "not losing weight" area.

Mrs. F, I am going to email you if you don't mind .. I have some questions for you. =)

Ooh, I just thought of something, what about sugar free gum? Does that have art. sweetners in it? I'll have to check ...


Mrs. Furious said...

sorry I'm late getting back to you on this one... I got sidetracked!

Yes sugar free gum does have artificial sweeteners. I'm not sure how much but if you chew it all day you might want to think about switching. I switched to regular sugar gum and it is still very few calories... but sadly not as good :(

I'll check my email

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