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Zero Calorie Sweeteners

Effect on the Gut Microbiome

An article by Healthline states:
1. Artificial sweeteners affect the gut microbiome in mice.
2. The affected gut microbiome raises their blood sugar level.

The bad actors:

  1. Aspartame
  2. Saccharin
  3. Acesulfame Potassium
  4. Neotame
  5. Sucralose

Other studies show that those who drink zero-calorie drinks end up consuming more calories than those that drink water. Zero calorie drinks seem to raise the hunger level.

Insulin Response to Lingual Stimulation

This topic is important to me, because of my hack to drink milkshakes with fiber supplement pills, which I hope reduces the glycemic response. Assuming the healthiest insulin and glucose profiles are closer to steady state (please verify), I seek to learn the magnitude of the insulin spike on the timeline chart, upon lingual stimulation with a sweet taste.

Unfortunately, one conclusion in the Healthline article above, regarding insulin response after consumption of sucralose, may be incorrect. The article states: “However, results are mixed and other human studies have shown no effect (10).” The article referenced to support the claim that the research is mixed, used intragastric infusion. With intragastric infusion, a catheter is used to deliver the sucralose, thus bypassing the taste buds. Although, it is true that there are “taste buds” throughout the body, not just on the tongue 1

Insulin level rises when taste buds on the tongue sense anything sweet, regardless of the calorie content.
Relationship Between Insulin and Taste, 2007
Cephalic phase insulin release in healthy humans after taste stimulation?, 2008

However, this may not be the case, if the sweetness is in liquid form.
Sweet taste: effect on cephalic phase insulin release in men, 1995

In the case of adding fiber in pill form, with the consumption of a high glycemic food, the blood sugar should not rise as quickly as the body expects based on lingual signaling. So in this case, the body is over-prepared for the incoming meal.

How Much of an Insulin Reponse?

Israel Ramirez on Quora suggested that while the answer is not known, it appears the insulin response to a sweet taste on the tongue is small.

The study Relationship Between Insulin and Taste, 2007 shows that there is a significant transient response: “3 min after the sucrose stimulation, there was a 3 to 4 times increase in plasma insulin concentration compared to levels prior to stimulation. … The rise of the plasma insulin concentration was transient, and declined within 7 min.”

Can you have insulin release just by thinking about food?

I am still seeking clarification on these matters.


Stevia appears to not have the insulin response, and even reduces it:

The best form of stevia are fresh leaves, or “green leaf stevia”, which is made of dried leaves ground up into powder form.


Another way to have your cake and eat it too. While not a zero calorie sweetener, you can definitely use it in place of sugar during your eating hours (in regards to intermittent fasting). The health profile looks good:

There are some ice cream brands using erythritol and stevia, such as “Halo Top”, but you could probably make your own ultimate low carb ice cream, with many keto recipes existing on the web.

Herbal Teas

I stop eating early in the evening as part of intermittent fasting, and when hungry at night, tea or lemon/lime water helps ease the hunger more so than water. However, you have to be careful which tea you choose.

A Bad Example

The following tea was a gift. I would never get something that lists “natural spice and vanilla flavors with other natural flavors” as part of the ingredients. That's too deceptive. Also, I don't know how they get away with saying it's zero calories.

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea ingredients: Cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors with other natural flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg.

Roasted carob and roasted chicory:

Maybe it's good because it makes me drink tons of water, but maybe not good because sugary drinks lead to cavities. I estimate about 10 grams of sugar, or 30 calories per tea bag. It's low calorie, but it isn't zero calorie.

health/zero-calorie-sweeteners.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/16 04:03 by marcos