The astonishing anti-insulin effects of intra-workout aspartame consumption Meanwhile even bodybuilders who are injecting and "supplementing" with all sorts of unquestionably unhealthy stuff are so afraid of the hitherto still rather vaguely established pro-carcinogenic effects of aspartame that supplement companies place huge stickers on the boxes of their products saying "ASPARTAME FREE!" Now, I am pretty sure that a recently published study that was conducted by scientists from the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney in Campbelltown, Australia (Siegler. 2012), won't do much about that, but you will probably have to agree that it is still remarkable, to say the least, that the co-administration of an artificial sweetener which has not produced any glucose, insulin or whatever response in previous trials (cf. "Sweeter than your tongue allows") would do that!?
The respective intra-workout beverages were to be consumed in boluses of 4ml/kg body weight before and at 15-minute intervals throughout the trial. For the CHO groups this summed up to a total carbohydrate intake of 104.4±11.3g per participant and did - probably not to your surprise - cause a corresponding increase in insulin levels... with one exception, however: the intraworkout period in the CHO + Aspartame group (figure 1, red), when the insulin level dropped, during the exercise sessions and bumped back up to the same level as in the carbs only control afterwards (see figure 1).As the researchers point out, we do not yet have a mechanistic explanation for this phenomenon... nor can we even be sure that this was not some sort of strange artifact, so that
- carbohydrate - 2% maltodextrin and 5% sucrose (figure 1, C),
- carbs + aspartame - 0.04% aspartame with 2% maltodextrin and 5% sucrose (figure 1, CA),
- water - plain water, only (figure 1, W), and
- aspartame + malto - 0.04% aspartame with 2% maltodextrin (figure 1, A)
"the disparity between insulin levels [does not only] warrant further investigation with a larger cohort of clinically relevant subject populations (e.g. metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc.) [, but must also] be considered when designing nutrition-based, exercise intervention studies [in the future]" (Siegler. 2012That this observation could actually have very practical implications, both, in view of its potentially compromising effects on blood glucose levels in diabetics, where any insulin blocking effect of aspartame would probably reduce the already compromised glucose uptake even more, as well as in view of the anti-lipolytic (=blocks the release of fat from the cells) of insulin during a workout, which could actually be blocked with a minuscule amount of aspartame ... but alas, until the results have been confirmed and the mechanism behind this effect has been elucidated, what we are doing here is more or less intellectual masturbation - nothing to feel bad about, but still not the real deal ;-)
- Instead of the expected decrease in homocysteine levels, of which scientists still believe that it plays in imminently important role in the development of heart disease, its serum levels did likewise increase by 17%, while the serum concentrations of vitamin B12 decreased by 11 % post-fortification. The additional ~118 μg folate/d the subjects ingested from the fortified food products, appeared to be particularly useless (or even detrimental?) for boys / young men whose total homocysteine (tHcy) levels increased by 24% to a much greater extent than in the girls / young women.Honestly, I don't really know what to make of these results at the moment, ... at least nothing better than to shake my head over the hilariousness of trying to turn junk(-food) into (good) food by simply enriching it with artificial vitamins. On the other hand, I am happy that even Daniel A. Enquobahrie and his colleagues feel that it is "warranted to investigate the significance of these improvements in folate status on clinical outcomes, in the post-fortification era." (Enquobahrie. 2012) - and that not just because the fortification program did not produce the desired results, but also because the folic acid intake already started to exceed the RDA in many of the subjects. This, and the alarming decrease in B12 levels of which Katherine L. Tucker had cautioned in the 2007 interview with Judy Mc Bride, already, that "better diagnosis for B12 deficiency should be given high priority"(Mc Bride. 2007) do not "warrant", imho, they rather make it imperative to follow the effect of this "nationwide health program" very closely.
- The 35 successful dietary interventions had on average 58.4% higher average protein intakes than those trials in which the authors had not been able to observe an additional beneficial of going high protein over the standard calorical restriction approach
- The 17 successful (=greater anthropomorphic changes than with calorie restriction alone) of the 25 studies, where the baseline protein intake of the subjects was available, the increase in protein intake was 28.6% (if you ate 100g protein per day before, that would mean you would eat 128.6g while you are dieting), minimal increases in 4.7% range, on the other hand, did not provide any additional benefit over energy reduction, alone.
- The BMJ Supplement Review says: Thumbs up for sucrose, thumbs down for succinate and undecided for spirulina In installment #36 of the A-Z of Nutritional Supplement Supplements, a series dedicated to review the pros and cons of purported ergogenic aids, the authors conclude that ...
- ...the studies on spirulina fail to "study well-trained individuals", to use appropriate standardization regimen with relevance for physical culturists and athletes, identify the active ingredients and their effect on the antioxidant status, of which the respective scientists speculate that it would be the underlying mechanism of the observed ergogenic effects on chronic low-intensity exercise regimen
- ...the research on succinate (only) supplementation is basically non-existent and claims with respect to its permanence enhancing effects is mostly based on theoretical considerations about its role in the TCA cycle
- ...despite the general trend within our society, where the overconsumption of sucrose (table sugar) is one of the major offenders to public health, "there may be value in, or at least room for, its inclusion in sports products targeting the provision of carbohydrate fuel during exercise"
Figure 5: Suicide risk in psychiatric patients /w (SA) or w/out (PS) prev. suicide attempt and surgical control (SC) in lowest, 2nd and 3rd cmp. to highest quartiles (Olié. 2011)The exact mechanism for the highly significant increase in suicide risk, esp. among women with previous suicide attempts in the lowest (1st quartile) is still not fully elucidated, Olié et al reference previous studies which suggest that low serum cholesterol levels, a "potentialmarker of central nervous systemcholesterol", impair the serotoninergic activity and" increase impulsivity" and thus precipitate to severe depression and the tendency and ability to pot a premature end to your life.In view of the fact that this and similar results were derived exclusively from analysis of psychiatric patients and considering that the cholesterol levels in the SA group were already significantly lower that in the PC and SC control (178±36 mg/dL vs. 217±43 mg/dL and 219±52 mg/dL, respectively) we should be very wary of transferring these results 1:1 to the "normal" people.
- Bosse JD, Dixon BM. Dietary protein in weight management: a review proposing protein spread and change theories. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Sep 12;9(1):81.
- Enquobahrie DA, Feldman HA, Hoelscher DH, Steffen LM, Webber LS, Zive MM, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Osganian SK. Serum homocysteine and folate concentrations among a US cohort of adolescents before and after folic acid fortification. Public Health Nutrition. 2012; 15: 1818-1826.
- Mc Bride. Foods To Be Fortified With Folic Acid. USDA ARS. News. February 7, 2007. < http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/jun97/folate0697.htm > retrieved on September 14, 2012.
- Olié E, Picot MC, Guillaume S, Abbar M, Courtet P. Measurement of total serum cholesterol in the evaluation of suicidal risk. J Affect Disord. 2011 Sep;133(1-2):234-8.
- Siegler J, Howell K, Vince R, Bray J, Towlson C, Peart D, Mellor D, Atkin S. Aspartame in conjunction with carbohydrate reduces insulin levels during endurance exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Aug 1;9(1):36.
- Zemski AJ, Quinlivan RM, Gibala M, Burke LM, Stear SJ, Castell LM. A-Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance: Part 36. Br J Sports Med. 2012 Sep;46(12):893-4.