Disease Proof

Weird Science: Fake Sugar, GMO Vegetables

A new study claims artificial sweeteners are linked to weight-gain. Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News reports:
Purdue researchers report that saccharin altered the ability of rats to control their appetites. However, the head of an artificial sweetener trade group scoffed at the findings, saying they don't necessarily translate to humans.


"We found that the rats that were getting artificially sweetened yogurt gained more weight and ate more food," said study author Susan Swithers, an associate professor of psychological sciences at the Ingestive Behavior Research Institute at Purdue University. "The take-home message is that consumption of artificially sweetened products may interfere with an automatic process."

That process, she said, involves the body's ability to detect that it will soon be full. "We often will stop eating before we've been able to absorb all of the calories that come from a meal. One of the reasons we might stop eating is that our experience has taught in the past that, 'After I eat this food, I'll feel this full for this long,' " she explained.

It seems to be a subconscious process based on automatic estimations of how much energy certain foods will provide, she said. For example, a sweet taste might be a sign that "calories are coming, and I should prepare my body for the arrival of those calories." However, when the sweetness is not followed by a lot of calories, the body's digestive system gets confused, and the metabolism rate does not gear up as much the next time sweetness is tasted.
Not that surprising, Dr. Fuhrman will tell, fake sugars are risky propositions. Take aspartame for example:
My opinion is that the possible dangers of aspartame are still unknown. Utilizing such artificial products is gambling with your health. Aspartame also exposes us to a methyl ester that may have toxic effects. I recommend playing it safe and sticking to natural foods.
Now, sticking with the weird science theme, researchers want to genetically amp up the calcium in carrots. From Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times:
"Fruits and vegetables are generally a pretty low source of calcium," says Jay Morris, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine's Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston and lead author of a study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "But if we can increase calcium in a wide variety of foods, we can have a modest effect in the amount of calcium available to people in their diets."


In the study, 15 men and 15 women ages 21 to 29 ate regular carrots, and carrots that had been genetically modified to allow them to store more calcium. Through urine tests, researchers found that subjects absorbed about 41% more calcium per serving than from the regular carrots.
Well, I guess if the only veggie you’re eating is carrots, you’d like if they were more calcium-rich, but as Dr. Fuhrman points out, plants—in general—are packed with calcium:


Yeah, sometimes science can be a wee-bit unusual.
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