Eating less sugar, reducing your calorie intake and increasing daily physical activity is key to losing weight. That’s why many people swap regular soda for artificially sweetened diet soda or use Splenda or another low- or no-calorie sweetener in their morning cup of coffee. However, how effective are artificial sweeteners? There is a large debate on whether or not these sweeteners help you lose weight or actually cause weight gain.
Types of Artificial Sweeteners
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, there are a variety in which to choose. Some of the most popular include:
- Splenda (Sucralose): 600x sweeter than sugar
- PureVia, Enliten, Truvia (Variations of Stevia): 200-400x sweeter than sugar
- Equal, NutraSweet, Sugar Twin (Aspartame): 200x sweeter than sugar
- Sweet N Low, Nexta Sweet, Sweet Twin (Saccharin): 200-700x sweeter than sugar
- Sunett, Sweet One (Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K): 200x sweeter than sugar
There are other types of artificial sweeteners. You can find more information on the sweeteners that the U.S. Good and Drug Administration approves as safe for use in foods and drinks here.
Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?
Some experts believe that artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss. Some studies have shown that the consumption of these types of sweeteners can cause us to eat more food, increasing our calorie intake. One reason behind this is that, because they are so much sweeter than sugar, they are training our brains to crave more sweet food. Another reason is that some experts believe that eating treats that have been artificially sweetened gives us an excuse to eat more food. For example, if you buy diet treats, you may be tempted to eat more in one sitting. Because of this, you may end up consuming more calories.
On the contrary, other researchers have found that substituting no- or low-calorie sweetened treats for their higher-calorie counterparts can lead to weight loss. This can be especially true when switching to diet sodas with no calories from high-calories sodas.
Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Loss
Switching to artificial sweeteners if you typically have a diet high in sugar can be a reasonable first step to losing weight and eating healthy. Making this switch can help you become more thoughtful about the foods you are eating and in meal planning.
Ultimately, it is best to reduce the consumption of all sweeteners as much as you can. However, not everyone is able to do that. Switching to artificial sweeteners from sugars is a good move.
Low- or no-calorie sweeteners may help some people reduce their weight, but many experts are still concerned about the propensity for weight gain. Instead of artificial sweeteners, eat foods that are naturally sweet to calm your sweet tooth. These foods also provide additional vitamins and minerals that are vital to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are five tips to help you satisfy your sweet tooth that can help you move away from artificial sweeteners altogether.