What really are artificial sweeteners? Just don’t understand how they are “sugars” but “not sugars”

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Artificial sweeteners are synthetic (lab made) chemicals that have very similar chemical structures to naturally occurring sweeteners. Because they share a similar structure, they active similar pathways in our bodies. However, the slight change in structure results in our body’s inability to digest/absorb them for metabolic use. Thus, they carry no energetic (caloric) value. There is a lot of mixed research as to what exactly they affect within the body. I’m on one of these research teams. It appears that in moderation, they are safe. Though they may have upregulation and downregulation effects on some metabolic pathways in the human body. Much more extensive research is needed to identify a sound answer. Many of the studies you will come across today used “supersaturated” concentrations of these sweeteners on mice (think drinking 40 diet cokes in a day) and can be misleading to the layman.

TLDR: more research is needed


Well sucralose is sugar except it was an extra molecule connected to it so you can’t digest it


also do they trigger an insulin response? what about natural sweeteners like stevia? i’m interested for intermittent fasting purposes


I can’t speak for all of them but my understanding is that some of them work by activating the taste receptors for sweetness, as sugar does, but do not contain nutritional value or calories, like the glucose that is broken down from carbohydrates and sugars.


some artificial sweeteners do resemble sugar(s) but others absolutely do not, like the aspartame example mentioned below- yes it is composed of two amino acids but is not a normal didpeptide at all, since it not joined with the same type of peptide bond that we do see between aminos in nature. In fact amino acids are in the protein family, and not the carb’ sugar family at all. As your body metabolises aspartame, not only phenylalanine is released (one of the aminos) but also methanol, a type of alcohol which is poisonous, also called wood alcohol.
Splenda or sucralose is a tri chlorinated sucrose molecule making it an organochloride, and a close chemical cousin of many pesticides. The tri chlorination renders it about 200x sweeter than sugar, so only minute quantities are needed to provoke a sweet reaction on our taste buds. Even in tiny quantities it seems to kill good bacteria in our gut. Not surprising for an organochloride.

There are many chemicals, both natural and synthetic which taste sweet yet are not sugars at all. Licorice root, stevia herb and monk fruit (lo han guo in Chinese) all have very sweet non caloric compounds. I have seen research on stevia that it actually promotes healthy blood sugar, fighting diabetes and hypertension.


Short‐term feeding of a Ketogenic Diet induces more severe liver insulin resistance, compared to an obesogenic high‐fat diet (2018)

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I would love to know why their keto diet mice were fed a 90% fat diet…if they are looking for the translation to humans protein intake should be higher than 10%, no human eats a 90% fat diet that is a crazy number.


The study did not address fatty liver.

The study did show that the ketogenic diet (KD) did worse at the glucose tolerance test because elevated insulin levels did not slow down the endogenous production of glucose (EPG) by the liver (insulin resistance in the liver). In the discussion the authors suggest that EGP by the liver was not slowed down because the KD may cause physical adapations that are intentionally glucose sparing, meaning the body intentionally causes the liver to not react to the elevated insulin levels to intentionally keep the liver producing glucose. Remember that the function of the liver is to buffer glucose and on a KD the liver must produce glucose or the body will die.

edit: spelling


No body wonders what this “ketogenic diet” the mice met was? Well I wondered, so here you go:

Casein 173.3 DL-Methionine 2.6 Vegetable Shortening, hydrogenated (Crisco) 586.4 Corn Oil 86.2 Cellulose 87.97 Vitamin Mix, Teklad (40060) 13.0 Choline Bitartrate 2.5 TBHQ, antioxidant 0.13 Mineral Mix, Ca-P Deficient (79055) 20.0 Calcium Phosphate, dibasic 19.3 Calcium Carbonate 8.2 Magnesium Oxide 0.4

Formatting im on mobile but you get the point.


This is a well-known effect *for mice*.

It hasn’t been replicated in humans AFAIK and I think there are a lot of studies that could have replicated it but didn’t.


Bad day to be a mouse, it sounds like.


High quality research on whether vegetarian diets are healthier

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You’re entering a war zone.


Welcome to the jungle.

The majority of the evidence in this area comes from observational studies. The problem with observational studies in nutrition is that the effects that they are trying to find are smaller than the likely confounding effects, which means they end up measuring the confounders rather than what they are trying to measure. John Ioannidis has written about this state of affairs.

Whenever asking about diets, the real question is always “what exactly are the diets that are being compared?” For a meat-containing diet, do you mean a whole-food diet with meat, or do you mean a typical american diet? What kind of meats are included, and what is the carb level? For the vegetarian diet, what are the set of foods that are in the diet and how much care is it constructed to get an appropriate mix of nutrients? All of these are important, which makes it hard to generalize results even if they are from RCTs.

It will also be important to consider the patient population…

For metabolically health people, I think the vegetarian diet can be healthy though I notice my vegan friends spend a lot of time talking about specifics – what supplements they eat and what particular foods they eat to get specific nutrients. I don’t know if that is just about their nutritional approach or whether it’s inherent in vegetarian diets; I suspect it’s a little of both as the nutrient density in vegetarian diets is much lower.

For metabolically sick people – those with insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, or type II diabetes – it’s pretty clear that the low-fat high-carb diets – even the WFPB ones – significantly underperform keto diets when you look at results; none of the vegetarian trials come close to what Virta Health has achieved. I think there are sound biochemical reasons related to what is going on with insulin resistance that explains the difference.

I would in fact frame your question the opposite way; given that we know that the nutrient density of foods like eggs are so high, what evidence is there that diets that omit animal products are healthier?


Eating vegetarian is not more healthy than eating meat or any other diet. I can eat solely french fries and be vegetarian, still wildly unhealthy. Making points like this distracts from the real questions and gives people who eat an unhealthy, meat heavy diet an excuse. Eating healthy and/or eating vegetarian is a choice and absolutely possible, even if you have little time and like your food to be tasty.


Something to be aware of is some vegetarians just eat candy, chips, and ice cream. Make sure whatever studies you review take into account the quality of food the participants are eating.


Definitely read Weston Price’s ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’. It covers in detail and with photos what key nutrition should look like and what happens if specific needs are not met. The meat vs no-meat argument is just crazy, individuals should learn what is local to them and can meet their needs and then that should be their diet.


Does anyone have a link to something which you can read for everything you need to know when you want to start eating healthier

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I took a course called health and fitness 01 for summer semester (5weeks) and it opened my eyes food wise from what we NEED to eat daily for our body to have energy, function, grow at the rate it needs to grow, eat for working out etc. Even for specific illnesses it states what needs to be consumed and how much it’s so specific and has helped me in my weightloss journey , a very good guide. The book she linked was called ” Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition 5th Edition” this is my humble opinion tho but good luck overall (:


1) any lecture by Robert Lustig on YouTube
2) the book “How Not to Die”


You won’t find anything that isn’t in some way influenced by a partisan belief in the validity of nutritional information, that’s just how nutrition is.


This subreddit’s FAQ, and there is “Suggested Reading” on here as well. Those might take a while but I like to watch youtube videos and just google things when I’m curious. Always read multiple sources though, there’s a lot of varying info about the same question/topic online. To start, I say learn about “macronutrients” and “micronutrients”.

To answer your specific question, if you feel the need to snack, then you are probably hungry, so a fruit is a delicious and nutritious way to satisfy your hunger. The only reason you shouldn’t snack at all is if you are trying to eat fewer calories in order to lose weight.

Another thing to consider is your nutrition goals. An apple is mostly carbs, so if by eating the apple you pass your carb limit, then the apple wouldn’t be a good snack; you might go for some nuts or an egg instead, because those would satisfy your hunger but not cost you too many carbs.

Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight or eating a certain amount of carbs each day, but as you learn more about nutrition and set health goals you can decide on your own whether to snack or not. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

Good luck!


I use Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, a free app with a tracker list of healthy foods to include in your daily diet. Each item has in “i” next to it which links to videos about why each food item is important based on scientific studies.


What are foods that you actively try to avoid even in moderation for one reason or another.

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Corn tortilla chips, I can’t count chips, we end up counting baskets.


Candy. It’s been a month of 90% clean eating and my taste buds have finally been tricked into craving fresh fruit, and I don’t want to get back into the habit of buying candy to snack on and finishing the bag in too short a time.


Pop. Sugar is horrible for you. Avoid it at all costs


Chips/puffs/crackers/packaged cookies. Not a single bag has ever come into my home that hasn’t been eaten entirely in one sitting.


On the plus side, I know that I can pack away Doritos like a greedy hamster saving baby carrots. So… if my life depended on it, I could eat my way out from under a factory-sized pile of Doritos long before I ever suffocated under the weight of it.


Nuts. They’re “healthy”. You eat more than a handful and easily 300+ calories. It’s nuts.


Youtube tea for this subreddit

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I have yet to listen to the podcast, but as a someone who considers oneself as very interested in nutrition and biology and every effect that impacts your health and well-being, there is one thing that comes to mind and that is vitamin D. Just based on anecdotal evidence from hearing people talk about it online and based on ONLY two books “The Power of Vitamin D,” by Zaidi MD, Sarfraz, and “The Miraculous Results of Extremely High Doses of the Sunshine Hormone Vitamin D3,” by Jeff T. Bowles, which is a personal account of his experience with experimenting with high levels of Vitamin D, I can only surmise that you cannot get the adequate amount of Vitamin D from a well balanced diet.

And this is just one example of a very common vitamin deficiency that many Americans suffer from without even realizing it. And I must make clear that you can attain vitamin D from sun exposure. Yet even with daily sun exposure you can still be deficient in vitamin D which many Americans are even if you are living in a particularly sunny place like southern California where Dr. Sarfraz treats and diagnose his patients.

So overall, I do not think it is a ridiculous statement to make by Joe Rogan. I just gave you one example of just one nutrient from which many Americans are deficient in even with sun exposure and a balanced diet. It would not surprise me at all if there were other vitamin, or essential mineral deficiencies that many Americans have. The best way to solve this problem is to simply go to a doctor and get a full panel blood test done. Cheers!


Joe Rogan’s into a bunch of bro-science. I wouldn’t take any of his nutritional advice to heart.


I tend to agree. The USDA recommendations have refined grains because of the fortification with nutrients to compensate for deficiencies. That isn’t as well absorbed as from real foods. So, I suppose this is the same argument as to what “balanced” means.


Um, false. Most people eat like crap, so I guess people can have deficiencies. Vitamin E is actually one of the few things where it’s hard to get enough of from food alone. But by all means, take a multi and piss it all out! There’s also evidence that vitamin supplements can have negative impacts on health. There are exceptions, of course.


What is your favorite, most nutritious thing to cook using an air fryer?

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Frozen vegetables in the air fryer are amazing. I dump the bag in, sprinkle on some seasoning, and turn it to the highest heat setting on mine (450F) and roast for about 10-15 minutes. Also, it’s really good for tofu. I do essentially the same thing as the veggies. If I want something “breaded” I’ll just toss it with a very small dusting of corn starch and toss it in there with a tiny spritz of oil spray. Crunchy chickpeas are amazing. Same with edamame. Also, this isn’t a recipe, but I reheat everything that isn’t a liquid (like soup etc) in my air fryer because it legitimately doesn’t taste like leftovers.




trader joes cauliflower gnocchi is greeeat in the airfryer. I usually toss it in their vegan pesto, or just parm cheese and capers, or sometimes I get wild and toss it in buffalo sauce.


Mixed vegetables. Usually broccoli, capsicum, baby corn, mushrooms. I first cut the veggies and mix them together. Add some salt, pepper, crushed garlic and some chicken tikka masala powder. Put them in air fryer, put some olive oil over the veggies and cook them. Takes around 10-15 minutes.


Can I ask why you decided on that particular brand? I’m looking to get on the air fryer bandwagon but feeling overwhelmed by the different brands.


What is the minimum list of foods that have the widest nutritional spectrum?

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Just an fyi as someone who’s been religiously strict to a diet for months on end for bodybuilding purposes, when you don’t vary your foods any more than this, those rare times that you eat a piece of pizza, a couple donuts, hamburger, whatever, basically anything you’re not used to, your gut will be trashed for a couple of days afterwards. Enough time and consistency with a narrow diet like this changes your gut biome to handle just these foods very well and none others


You don’t have many vegetables – and you don’t have any red/orange vegetables. You may want to consider adding some in.


Some of the most nutritionally dense foods as determined by phytonutrient content include purple cabbage or kale for vegetables and blackberries, acai berries, or amla berries for fruit. Flax seeds (ground up) and turmeric (consumed with pepper for maximum absorption) are also extremely anti inflammatory and nutritionally dense. Honestly you could find hundreds of foods that fit the “super healthy” bill that could be combined to make numerous ideal food combinations.


This is a very good list! It would be nice if you could have more ongoing diversity in your diet. Diversity is how you get all your nutrients in. You have millions of bacteria in you gut microbiome so it’s really really really important you get a variety of foods to ensure you are feeding all the good bacteria in your gut.

Most of my diet consists of pretty much every vegetable available to me (except starchy ones), wild caught fatty fish, lean proteins, seeds, nuts and nut butter, good quality olive oil, fruits, lentils and beans. That doesn’t sound like a long list but it does encapsulate a lot and I rotate everything as much as possible. I find this works for me, maybe it’s easier for you to just have a set list- I just thought I would give you what I do.