Do artificial sweeteners spike insulin response?

A few years back I recall reading some preliminary studies that suggested that the body reacted to artificially sweetened drinks by releasing insulin in the same way it would react to an actually sweetened drink. Has there been any conclusive data on this issue? Does the sweetener or the conditions matter?

If that’s true, how does that even work? Does the brain tell the body how much insulin to release based on perceived taste? It would seem like a feedback loop that detected glucose in the blood to control insulin release would be more accurate.

I’m also curious how this relates specifically to low carb dieting - since it’s fundamentally about insulin management, I’m wondering if drinking artificially sweetened drinks have negative effects.

Anecdote not data I know. But personally I am treating diabetes with low carb diet (and general lifestyle changes), but have no reaction to artificially sweetened drinks (I clearly do if eat or drink something with the equivalent amount of sugar).

Because the human body is not result of a design process of “what works best”, but of trying out “what works better than the previous version”, which often stops short of the best solution, if the better solution is adequate enough, or if going from better to best would mean major structural changes.

The human windpipe crosses the food pipe at one point, which makes it possible for people to choke when food goes down wrong. It’s not enough of a hindrance to start rewiring everything.

In addition, for hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, there were no artifical sweeteners, only real sugar. When you tasted sugar on your tongue, your stomach was getting carbohydrates, so raising insulin levels on that was a good response.

So your answer to OP is yes?

Yes. It is called cephalic phase insulin release. It has been studied both in animal models and in humans. It is not however clear that the magnitude of that response is in any way significant. The last last cite is to a recent complete article and is the source of the following:

(Bolding mine.)

I don’t know about people, but small amounts of Xylitol provokes a massive insulin response in dogs, and has killed many. http://www.avma.org/myveterinarian/foods-to-avoid.asp

It is commonly found in sugarless gums. http://lorie-huston.suite101.com/xylitol-an-increasingly-common-pet-poison-a109133

I have wondered if anybody is investigating it as a treatment for diabetes.

I don’t think a massive insulin response would do anything for diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance - your body produces insulin well enough, but your cells don’t use it properly. Many people with Type 2 diabetes already have massive amounts of insulin floating about, because their pancreas produces it but their cells don’t use it to process glucose.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Type 1 diabetics simply don’t have the capacity to produce insulin - the cells that do it are dead - so I don’t think anything will give them a massive insulin response. “Squeezing blood from a turnip” comes to mind.

Yet most type 2 diabetics end up taking insulin. Producing more insulin won’t cure type 2 diabetes but it may help.

Great reference, thanks!

No they don’t. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 2007-2009, 12% of all diabetics take insulin. That’s not “most” type 2 diabetics, unless the number has increased dramatically in the past two years.

The pie chart actually had sectors for “insulin only” (12%) and “insulin and oral meds” (14%). So, looks like 26% of all diabetics take insulin but, still, not “most”.

Sorry, so I did. But as you say, even 26% is not “most”.

Yeah, I wondered about that too. I tried looking up percentages of Type 2s who use Insulin (since pretty much all Type 1s do), and found statistics that went anywhere from 14% to up to 40%. Very much not “most.”

I’m curious, are there exceptions to this? I was just talking to a doctor about this and he said something like “Type I diabetics are all either on insulin maintenance or dead.”

That’s pretty much the case. Type 1 diabetics either take insulin or die.

Though to complicate things, there is what is known as Type 1.5 or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) which is where your insulin-producing cells are killed off over a period of months or even years. Therefore, for a while, a person with T1.5 will have some, but limited, insulin production – probably not enough to cover all of his/her insulin needs. Depending on the doctor/time of diagnosis, either oral drugs to stimulate insulin production or insulin therapy are prescribed.

However, with time, a T1.5/LADA will be completely dependent on insulin, just like a “normal” T1, where insulin production capability was sent to near zero very suddenly. Studies put the longest possible time between a T1.5/LADA diagnosis and complete insulin dependence at around 10-15 years, but generally its a lot shorter time-scale.

That’s what I get for talking out of my ass! What I should have said is that, since many people with type 2 diabetes require insulin, inducing the overproduction of insulin may be helpful.

Actually there are medications for type 2 diabetes (often also used in early stage T1.5 and LADA) that do exactly this; they’re commonly termed sulfonylurea drugs and stimulate the insulin-producing cells to produce more insulin. Its the “kicking the door down” approach to combating insulin resistance that is characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Getting a little off the thread, my doctor said that by overworking the insulin producing cells, it is possible or even likely that I will see them give up the ghost and eventually have to start taking it. Meantime, I take metformin and have lost a considerable amount of weight (about 75 lb).

I’m Type 2, and next week the Doctor tells me if I go on insulin or not…:eek:

What does “too much protein in your pee” mean? My endocrinologist --soon to be my ex-endocrinologist–told me that it means my kidney functions are worsening from the diabetes.

Which tells me bupkus, to use the medical term.

One of the things that too much sugar in your blood long term can do is damage your kidneys, sometimes to the point of kidney failure. In fact diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. Protein in the urine is an early warning that such damage is in progress. When the kidneys fail people need to go on dialysis or get a transplant. Good blood sugar control helps prevent that.