Cutting the Sugar to Help Your Stem Cells-Switching to “Diet” Drinks or Fake Sugar isn’t the Answer!

by Chris Centeno, MD /

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improve stem cells

Can you just switch to Splenda to cut your sugar in hopes that this will improve stem cells and your metabolic syndrome? I’ve blogged before showing that metabolic syndrome is a real problem for stem cell quality. So since metabolic syndrome is often caused by too much sugar and carb laden foods, will cutting the sugar by substituting fake sugar help? Likely not. When artificial sugar substitutes strated being produced in the 1960’s, the concept was simple. The stufff had no calories, so that must help the waistline, right? Wrong! Regrettably, sweetners like Splenda are so good at mimicking sugar, your brain simply doesn’t know the difference, so it still releases insulin and other hormones associated with eating sugar. How the heck does that work? The science is complex, but basically the sweeteners activate many of the same receptors and triggers for all of the same bad chemicals produced by your body the same as if you had downed real sugar. In this case, they cause your body to release insulin, which drops your blood sugar, which then causes excessive insulin production-the main cause of a metabolic syndrome. For example, artificial sweeteners (in this case Sucralose) when consumed in diet soda did end up triggering the signaling system for insulin (GLP-1). In addition, these artificial sweeteners also activate a “sweet taste receptor” on the cells of the pancreas, causing insulin release as if the artificial sweetener was real sugar. Now on top of that a recent study also shows these artificial sweeteners like Splenda mess with your gut bacteria. These chemicals cause your gut bacteria to adapt in a way that causes your “full” signal to go off-line, so you actually eat more! The upshot? Switching to diet sodas won’t improve stem cells, fix your metabolic syndrome, or your waistline!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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