Are you trying to avoid sugar to lose weight, but someone told you that artificial sweeteners make you fat? This belief seems to be popular, but is it true?
This article will separate truth from myth. Keep reading to find out for yourself!
Do Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat
According to most controlled studies- no! Artificial sweeteners do not appear to cause any weight gain short term. On the contrary, they will actually aid in weight loss by reducing calorie intake.
As with anything, though, excessive consumption may cause some issues.
There are other things to consider with artificial sweeteners! Keep reading below to learn more.
Different Types of Artificial Sweeteners
There are many artificial sweeteners available on the market, and many of them are significantly sweeter than sugar!
It’s worth noting that this article will not cover low-calorie sweeteners that are not artificial such as stevia and sugar alcohols. The most common artificial sweeteners are:
- Acesulfame-K – Sunett, Sweet One
- Aspartame – NutraSweet, Equal
- Saccharin – Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin
- Sucralose – Splenda
Artificial Sweeteners Effects on Appetite
Some researchers believe that artificial sweeteners do not satisfy food cravings and can lead to increased calorie intake. See, sugary foods trigger the release of hormones and chemicals in your brain. This process is known as the food reward pathway.
Food reward is crucial to feeling full or satisfied after eating.
Many experts believe artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, do not complete the food reward pathway. This may be why they can be linked to increased appetite and cravings.
These results imply that sweetness without calories may lead you to crave more food. These cravings alone won’t cause weight gain. However, if you follow through with them, you will be taking in more calories, hurting your weight loss goals.
However, in other studies, artificial sweeteners did not affect appetite or calorie intake from other foods.
Artificial Sweeteners Impact on Body Weight
Several observational studies found that artificially sweetened drinks can lead to weight gain. However, recently these studies have been reviewed, and the current conclusion is that people with higher BMI tend to consume artificial sweeteners.
To simplify this, artificial sweeteners are not necessarily the cause of high BMI; they are simply a common factor. In fact, many clinical studies have found that artificial sweeteners are beneficial for fat loss.
Additionally, a review of 15 clinical trials found that by simply replacing sugary drinks with artificially sweetened versions, someone can lose about 1.8 pounds.
Thus, controlled studies suggest that artificial sweeteners don’t cause weight gain and may even be mildly effective for weight loss.
So, can artificial sweeteners make you fat? No, but they may cause other issues if used in excess.
Artificial Sweeteners Effects on Metabolic Health
As you probably know, health is about more than bodyweight. For this reason, it is worth noting that artificial sweeteners have been tied to an increased risk of metabolic problems.
For example, some observational studies link artificial sweeteners to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Once again, this was an observational study and didn’t prove causation so much as correlation. It would not be unreasonable to assume that other factors were common in people who choose to consume artificial sweeteners.
Additionally, other studies have associated artificial sweeteners with glucose intolerance and disruption in gut bacteria.
Whether artificial sweeteners cause problems by disrupting your gut bacteria needs to be studied further. Still, there may be some cause for concern.
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause You to Gain Fat?
Artificial sweeteners do not make you fat. However, consuming them in excess can cause other health problems.
A diet soda here and there, some sweetened EAAs, or a sugar-free candy will not cause you any actual harm. But, as with most dietary concerns, moderation is the key!
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