I was listening to the Huberman Lab podcast - by Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and tenured Stanford Professor - and wanted to share this extract (and a link to a study) that concerned me because it suggested that the combination of non-caloric sweeteners with blood-glucose-raising foods increased risk of diabetes, at least when artificial sweeteners were later consumed without blood-glucose-raising foods.
If the Dalenburg et al study conclusions are true and Huel raises blood glucose level, does that mean that regularly drinking flavoured Huel would increase the risk of diabetes? Is this true only if one also consumes artificial sweeteners on their own, or even if the only context in which artificial sweeteners are consumed is with Huel and other foods?
Based on the Dalenburg study, how large an increase in blood glucose levels should we be concerned about? A very small Huel study (‘Blood Glucose Response to Huel Powder v3.0 and Huel Black Edition’) suggests only a ‘small’ increase, but I don’t know if I should be worried.
Are there any reasons aside from that small Huel study to think Huel would or would not increase blood glucose levels (enough to be concerning)?
What do you make of the two papers; do you think the conclusion of Dalenburg is correct?
Thanks so much!
One group of subjects is given a sweet taste of a substance that also raises blood glucose levels … and dopamine goes up …
[S]eparate subjects consume an artificial sweetener or a non-caloric sweetener. It is not preferred much over other substances, but it is sweet, so it’s preferred somewhat. And it does not cause an increase in blood glucose levels, and not surprisingly, dopamine levels don’t go up. … However, if subjects continue to ingest artificial sweeteners, even though there’s no increase in blood glucose level and therefore, no increase in brain metabolism, dopamine levels eventually start to rise … [Y]ou’ve essentially conditioned or reinforced that artificial or non-caloric sweetener, and then subjects start to consume more of it and they actually get a dopamine increase from it. …
[A]nother condition that’s been explored … [is] the condition where an artificial sweetener is paired with a substance that can increase blood sugar, but not because it tastes sugary … So now, there’s an artificial sweetener that’s coupled with an actual increase in blood glucose. … And when that happens, what you’re essentially doing is tapping into the dopamine system. This non-caloric sweet taste is paired with it, and there’s an increase in neuron metabolism. So you have all of the components for reinforcement. And as a consequence, … later, when you ingest that artificial sweetener, you actually get not only the increase in dopamine, but you get alterations in blood sugar management. …
If you ingest an artificial sweetener, say, drink diet soda while consuming foods that increase blood glucose, then later, even if you just drink the diet soda, it’s been shown that you secrete much more insulin … in response to that diet soda.
Studies have been done in both adult humans and human children … exploring consuming diet soda with or without food, then later, consuming just the diet soda … [O]f course, there isn’t an increase in blood glucose, because they’re not bringing in any calories … but there is a significant increase in insulin release … [and] insulin sensitivity is the basis for type 2 diabetes. So much so, that in the study with the children, consuming non-caloric beverages in this way, first with food, and then on their own, led to increases in insulin that made them pre-diabetic and they actually had to halt the study…
If you are going to consume artificial sweeteners, it’s very likely best to consume those away from any food that raises blood glucose levels.
He has received travel support, speaker fees, and/or honoraria from Diabetes Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada, FoodMinds LLC, International Sweeteners Association…