Advertisers, and the companies they represent, whose primary goal is to make a profit, have conned us into believing that their products are “healthy” for us—or at least a healthy alternative to sugar-laden snacks or beverages. The average consumer can be easily fooled into believing that a “diet” product is just that, a product that will help them meet their dieting goals and thus reduce or control their weight. But consumers are becoming savvier and more discerning in their food choices, and are becoming harder to fool.
Take the case of diet soda for example. Two years ago, the consumer group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) asked the FTC and the FDA to investigate the soda manufacturers such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for false advertising. USRTK claims that the use of the term “diet” by these manufacturers is false and misleading to the public. They were also urging the FDA to prevent Coca-Cola from making claims that it’s artificially sweetened sodas prevent, mitigate or treat obesity—claims that have been patently proven false. By using the word “diet” in advertising, a reasonable consumer can infer that these products assist in weight loss and good health—a notion that is refuted by science.
This false advertising has led to three class action lawsuits being filed in October against Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc., and Snapple Group, each of which make and sell diet beverages sweetened with products like aspartame. These suits allege that the beverage companies’ use of the word diet in their advertising is false and misleading and can make a reasonable consumer think the drinks are a diet aid.
So, what is the actual problem with diet sodas and other products labeled as diet? The use of chemically-engineered sweeteners, such as aspartame, that are used to sweeten these types of foods and beverages are touted as being helpful in weight loss by allowing you to cut calories. However, research has shown that artificial sweeteners produce the complete opposite effect because they lower appetite suppressant chemicals in our bodies and encourage sugar cravings. They also promote insulin resistance just as regular sugar does. Any claim that diet sodas and snacks are healthier for us are false and misleading.
Research over the last several decades shows that artificial sweeteners increase our appetite, increase our carb cravings and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote storage of fat and weight gain. Artificial sweeteners also interfere with metabolism and increase the risk for metabolic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
At BrainTap, we highly recommend avoiding any and all artificial sweeteners and processed foods. Artificial sweeteners are contained in over 6000 plus processed food products. If you read food labels carefully, there are hidden dangers everywhere—and artificial sweeteners are just one of them. Your brain and body need real, unprocessed foods in order to thrive.
A far better strategy for controlling your weight is to train your brain to desire real food and to avoid the sugar and unhealthy carbs and chemicals that sometimes trip us up in our journey to ultimate health. For those times, we recommend braintapping to help retrain your brain to think, act and respond as a healthy, trim person does. Listen to any one of our Habits of Naturally Thin People series, for example, to help you develop positive eating patterns, control sugar and junk food cravings, conquer your appetite, develop a positive mindset about healthy eating, and much, much more.
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