Source of this article: http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/artificial-sweetener-
THE ARTICLE: “Artificial” Sweetener Is Weight Gain Biomarker
In contrast to previous assumptions and research, erythritol can be metabolized by, and even produced in, the human body.
While the traditional goal of sugar substitutes has been to assist dieters and diabetics, new evidence from a research study led by investigators at Cornell University, Braunschweig University of Technology, Germany, and the University of Luxembourg has provided data that contradicts long-standing assumptions that the sugar alcohol erythritol is not metabolized by the body. The findings from this new study—published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in an article entitled “Erythritol Is a Pentose-Phosphate Pathway Metabolite and Associated…”—identify the alternative sweetener as a biomarker for increasing fat mass and show that it is even produced in humans.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in a variety of foods, such as pears and watermelons, but in recent years has increasingly become a common (DK???) ingredient in low-calorie foods as a replacement for sugar. Erythritol is 60% to 70% as sweet as sucrose, yet it is generally considered noncaloric and does not affect blood sugar.
In the current study, the investigators conducted a discovery-based analysis to identify metabolic markers associated with weight gain and increase in fat mass in young adults during the transition to college life. Researchers found that students who gained weight and abdominal fat over the course of the year had 15-fold higher blood erythritol at the start of the year compared with their counterparts who were stable or lost weight and fat mass over the academic year. (DK…Erythritol is found in wine, pears, watermelon, corn and corn products).
“Blood samples and anthropometry measurements were collected in the first 3 d[ays] on campus and at the end of the year,” the authors wrote. “Plasma from individuals was pooled by phenotype [incident central adiposity, stable adiposity, baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) >5.05%, HbA1c <4.92%] and assayed using GC-MS [gas chromatography–mass spectrometry], chromatograms were analyzed using MetaboliteDetector software (DK?????), and normalized metabolite levels were compared using Welch’s t test. Assays were repeated using freshly prepared pools, and statistically significant metabolites????? were quantified in a targeted GC-MS approach.”
The study took place as part of Cornell’s EnHANCE project—an initiative of the Division of Nutritional Sciences that seeks to understand how the transition to college affects changes in diet, weight, and metabolism. The findings from this ongoing endeavor are used to advance knowledge on the impacts to student health through the undergraduate years and beyond. (and erythritol became the research article derived from the study??? DK)
“About 75% of this population experiences weight gain during the transition,” explained senior study investigator Patricia Cassano, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. “With this in mind, it is important to identify biomarkers of risk that could guide its understanding and prevention.”
Each fall, more than 3 million high school graduates enroll in postsecondary education as first-time college freshmen, and this transition to a residential college environment is associated with weight gain.
“With the finding of a previously unrecognized metabolism of glucose to erythritol and given the erythritol-weight gain association, further research is needed to understand whether and how this pathway contributes to weight-gain risk,” Dr. Cassano concluded. ( ?????? DK….Yes, waste more money and time on this silly area of research instead of helping these young adults get and remain at their normal weight with their best health).
DIANE KRESS’ RESPONSE:
Where do I begin?
1. Cornell University has a program called EnHANCE. This article is about their research as to why college students gain weight during their freshman year at university. Oddly, of all things, they concluded that the sugar alcohol erythritol may be a part of this non-mystery. I find it so sad that money was spent to research the cause of the Freshman 15. The cause of weight gain for college freshman and college students in general has been crystal clear for years.
Please note that the sugar alcohol known as erythritol is not added to many foods….There are 2 main ways to find erythritol; in a health food store or online store that sells erythritol or in the under-advertised and “seemingly unknown” sweetener Swerve.
Erythritol is sometimes in the food industry as a sweetener. If it is present in a processed or packaged food, it would have to be listed with the ingredients. Check out how “few” times you see erythritol in anything you consume.
Erythritol is naturally found in grapes, watermelon, wine, and corn. (You will only find erythritol in a food product that is using fermented natural food or if they added it to a food. It is not hidden. It has the sweetness of about 60-70 % of that of sucrose (i.e. the normal sugar we use in everyday life). At the same time, however, erythritol is much less calorific; according to the Harvard School of Public Health, a teaspoon of erythritol contains only 0.2 calories, instead of about 4 calories for sucrose. (Yes, this is from Harvard and yes, the calories are .2 (decimal point before the 2!)
The main reason for this is that, due to its different chemical structure, erythritol is absorbed much less by our body and, therefore, it gives it almost no energy.
Erythritol is a naturally-occurring molecule, we can find it in fruits such as pears, water melon, grapes, and corn.; it is also present in some drinks like sake and wine, and sauce such as soy sauce.
2. I decided to note some words and phrases from the article:
“identify metabolomic markers associated with weight gain and increase in fat mass in young adults during the transition to college life”
Metabolic markers for fat gain do not include the amount of erythritol in the blood or body. Metabolic markers include: midline adiposity, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1C (not the levels used in this study!!), cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting insulin levels, Vitamin D level, thyroid markers.
Cornell’s EnHANCE project—an initiative of the Division of Nutritional Sciences that seeks to understand how the transition to college affects changes in diet, weight, and metabolism. The findings from this ongoing endeavor are used to advance knowledge on the impacts to student health through the undergraduate years and beyond.. Please let me enlighten Cornell’s EnHANCE program with long known and proven factual information.
About 75% of freshman experiences weight gain during the transition. With this in mind, it is important to identify bio-markers of risk that could guide its understanding and prevention."
Each fall, more than 3 million high school graduates enroll in post-secondary education as first-time college freshmen, and this transition to a residential college environment is associated with weight gain.
So, let’s get to the real reasons for the Freshman 15; as well as continued weight gain during college years. And no, it is not due to erythritol intake or presence in the blood.
1. Most college freshman live on campus and have a meal plan. If you’ve ever visited a college cafeteria or seen the local fast food restaurants, sub shops, pizza places, and Mexican selections….you know that your freshman is now living in CARB CRAZINESS.
2. Approximately 60% of college students have the genes for Metabolism B. In addition to having the genes for Metabolism B, certain life stressors move the propensity to acquiring Met B to full blown and uncontrolled Metabolism B.
The following life stressors: high emotional stress, high lifestyle stress, high carbohydrate intake, higher alcohol intake, energy drink consumption, less physical activity, more sitting, certain medications, pain (headaches/migraines/stress headaches and GI distress) plus the genes for Metabolism B set the stage for fatty body, fatty blood, fat between organs, liver fat.
With the genes for Metabolism B activated, all carbohydrate grams are over- processed with increased insulin (fat gain hormone) release. Skipping or delaying meals causes higher glycogen release from the liver. Higher levels of glycogen also trigger over-release of the fat gain hormone, insulin. College students are getting fatter; mid-line fat, increased cholesterol/triglycerides, fat accumulation between organs, and the beginning of a fatty liver.
3. The metabolic markers that prove the onset of Met B:
fasting insulin level
A1C under 5.2 or over 5.5
fasting glucose under 65 or over 89
cholesterol over 199
LDL cholesterol over 99
Vitamin D less than 40
hypertension BP over 130/85.
No, you won’t see a lab test for erythritol.
3. Many college freshman/college students will drink more alcohol during their college years than any other time in their lives. Mix liquor with regular soda, juice, or sugary drink mixers. Some drink regular beer and sweet wines or liquers (contains carb). They are known to over-consume alcohol….frequently.
High carb foods, carb containing alcohol, less physical activity, more emotional stress, more lifestyle stress, lack of sleep, and certain medications cause genetically wired Met B to surface. This is the beginning of uncontrolled Met B.
To stop the weight gain and metabolic markers for overweight/obesity…let’s teach our high school students “The Metabolism Miracle.” A complete set of teaching materials has been developed to educate adults about The Metabolism Miracle program, Metabolism B, insulin imbalance/insulin resistance and much more. MM should be a part of health class during the high school years. The Metabolism Miracle relays the best food choices , the extreme importance of exercise and physical activity, how to socially drink without triggering Met B, and will help improve short term memory, focus, concentration, energy level, and stable mood. In less than one week, cravings for carbohydrate foods/drinks will fade. Let’s stop investing in useless research studies. Let’s invest in the future of our children.
For More Information:
Contact Diane Kress, RD CDE and New York Times Bestselling Author of The Metabolism Miracle at