Originally Posted by Robb Wolf
There is a mountain of data on this phenomena:
I just grabbed this one, there are more...and yes, an artificial sweetener will releases insulin, crash blood sugar and cause a desire for more carbs. It also perpetuates insulin resistance. Our clients who refuse to cut artificial sweeteners from the diet have a buggar of a time loosing weight compared to the folks who are low-carb AND not using sweeteners.
There are many studies showing a potent insulin release in individuals simply looking at or thinking about sweets. The effects vary but they can be quite dramatic.
I'm thinking that there might be more of the 'Pavlov' mechanism at work here than we realize. Robb, the studies you have linked to are all really short term. The metabolic necessity of releasing insulin if sweet 'normally' means elevated blood sugar, is a pretty compelling reason for insulin cranking up 'just at the thought of sweet' - dog saliva like. But over time, if you constantly remind yourself that 'sweet' does not mean carbs at all, then perhaps neither the mental association, much less calorie free sweet taste, produces insulin release. I honestly can't even remember if the first few months of VLC (<40g) regular AS use were characterized by blood sugar crashes. I would have thought I would have remembered, life long hypoglycemia was one of the reasons I got interested in low carbing to begin with. But the last five years have been hypoglycemia free. It's probably the most conspicuous benefit of this dietary approach. But my regular AS use is matched only by my avoiding intense calorific sweet completely.
Why would you mess with the hard stuff if you can have all the fun without any downside? And for all those culinary adventures where the functional characteristics of sugar are essential, there's erythritol, so you can avoid the side effects of all the other sugar alcohols too