When saccharin, the first artificial sweetener, was discovered in 1879, it was considered a godsend for diabetics. That's because it could sweeten foods without causing a blood sugar spike.Organizationdedicated to the investigation and historical notes of saccharin. Since then, an abundance of artificial sweeteners has flooded the market with promises not just for diabetes management, but for weight loss as well. The idea, of course, is that the lack of calories and carbohydrates in artificial sweeteners allows people to enjoy sweet flavors without the high metabolic cost. (Sounds like the ultimate "eat your cake and eat it too" example, right?)
Ab 2023, aUS Food and Drug AdministrationThe FDA has approved six types of artificial sweeteners:
- Sacarina (Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet)
- Aspartamo (Nutrasweet, Sugar Twin, Equal)
- acessulfamoPotassium, or Ace-K (Sweet One, Sonnet)
- Sucralose (Esplenda)
- Neotam (Newtam)
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and numerous studies have examined the safety and effectiveness of each for weight loss. Still, artificial sweeteners have been the subject of accusations ranging from cancer to gaining extra pounds instead of losing them.
Want to know if picking up a little pink or blue pack can actually lead to weight loss? Here's what science and experts have to say.
Research on artificial sweeteners and weight.
Given the controversial interaction between artificial sweeteners and weight loss, it's not surprising that there are many studies on their relationship. Unfortunately, the conclusions are not entirely clear.
1Comment posted onlimits on nutritionstated, for example, that most clinical studies do not report significant or beneficial effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight (although the authors noted that long-term human studies are sparse). in the same way asystematic review published inDieBMJfound no evidence of an effect of sugar-free sweeteners on overweight or obese adults or children trying to lose weight. And in a real bomb, inAnalysis of 37 studies published in theJournal of the Canadian Medical Associationfound that people who regularly consumed artificial sweeteners actually had ahigherbody mass index (IMC) and risk of cardiometabolic disease than those who did not consume them.
On the other hand, some research suggests that alternative sweeteners can help you lose weight. ANMeta-analysis of 20 studiesconcluded that non-nutritive sweeteners resulted in significant reductions in weight and BMI. ANseparate meta-analysis, meanwhile, analyzed data from 14 cohorts with more than 416,000 individuals. In five of the cohorts, drinking sweetened drinks low in calories and without calories was associated with a lower weight, and among three cohorts, replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with artificially sweetened drinks was associated with a lower weight and an incidence of obesity to go down. However, the researchers emphasized that these conclusions are of "low to very low certainty" due to limitations in the consistency and accuracy of the studies.
Are artificial sweeteners healthy?
Regardless of whether artificial sweeteners lower the number on the scale, many people are concerned about their overall safety. After all, they are often synthetically made and are a relatively new addition to our food supply. Furthermore, despite their sweet taste, they are not recognized by the body as sugar. “Our bodies process low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners differently than sugar. One result of sugar metabolism is calories. This is not the case with low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners,” he explains.Kris Sollid, RD, senior director of nutrition communications at the International Council on Food Information in Washington, DC.
However, that doesn't mean that Splenda in your baked goods or a diet drink for lunch is bad for your health. On the other hand, the safety of artificial sweeteners has been studied extensively and public health organizations recommend generous upper limits. "The FDA has established an Acceptable Daily Amount (ADI) for each sweetener," says Justine Chan, RD, CDCES, of Toronto, founder ofYour diabetes nutritionist. “For example, the ADI is for aspartame50 milligrams per kilogram of body weighteach day. So if you weigh 68 kilograms or 150 pounds, you can safely consume up to 3,400 milligrams of aspartame per day. Since there are about 200 milligrams of aspartame per can of diet soda, that would mean up to 17 cans a day to reach your upper limit."
Of course, not everyone can tolerate high levels of alternative sweeteners. people withindigestion, you should be careful with certain options, eg. "People involvedirritable bowel syndromeYou should avoid artificial sweeteners that containsorbitolor erythritol, as they can make the condition worse," says Lisa Andrewssound bites nutritionin Cincinnati. It also recommends that people with the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria avoid aspartame.
People with diabetes should consider working with a nutritionist or other healthcare professional before diving into the world of artificial sweeteners. Chan says there is limited research on the safety of some newer options, such as neotame and thaumatin, in diabetes. Still, she emphasizes that non-nutritive sweeteners in general can be great (and even healthy) options for people with the condition. "For example, an artificially sweetened zero-calorie beverage could replace your favorite sugar-sweetened beverage because of their similar flavor profiles," he notes. “Also, because of all the dietary restrictions, people with diabetes often enjoy very little of the food they eat, so it could be a good alternative. That's how artificial sweeteners can increase satisfaction and help you stick to your eating plan for the long term.
And one last general rule: the use of artificial sweeteners is not always synonymous with health. Many foods that contain these ingredients are highly processed or contain large amounts of them.saturated fat, sodium and additives. Reading labels carefully can help you determine a food's overall nutritional value.
Should you use artificial sweeteners when trying to lose weight?
With all the conflicting evidence surrounding artificial sweeteners and weight, it's helpful to get an expert's perspective on the matter. According to nutritionists and researchers, is it worth including these calorie-free foods in your diet if you want to reduce your pants size?
In short, yes, but you don't necessarily have to include them. "There are many approaches to losing and maintaining body weight, and the common nutritional thread among them is reducing overall caloric expenditure," says Sollid. "Since both low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners provide zero or negligible calories, they can be helpful in reducing the number of calories, particularly calories from added sugars, in the beverages we consume."
If your weight loss journey involves a specific diet plan along with calorie restriction likemediterranean cuisineplant-based diet orketogenic diet– You can also add artificial sweeteners. Since these products contain little or no calories and carbohydrates, they do not significantly interfere with counting macros or planning plant-based meal strategies. (Most artificial sweeteners are vegan.) Some diets, such asTotally 30, exclude the use of all sweeteners, including artificial ones. It's up to you to determine your well-being by incorporating artificial sweeteners into your chosen eating plan.
Andrews agrees that alternative sweeteners may have a place in adiet to lose weight. "While some non-nutritive sweeteners can interfere with glycemic control or pose a risk of weight gain, I still prefer customers to use them over traditional caloric sweeteners when looking to manage diabetes or lose weight."
Be warned that having a Diet Coke or Sweet 'N Low or coffee from peanuts is not a panacea for weight loss. “Artificial adolescents are not magic bullets and consuming them is not a guarantee of weight loss or better health”, says Sollid. “In addition to what we eat and drink, successful weight loss/maintenance plans aim to improve health and encourage people to focus on things like regular exercise, quality sleep, and building/maintaining social networks. of support".