With our craving for low or zero sugar products increasing, artificial sweeteners are big business!
Food or drinks containing artificial sweeteners are often marketed as a healthier option, and do you know why? Because artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar, they can be used in very small amounts and contribute little to no calories.
Let’s First Know about Artificial Sweeteners!!
Those are manmade chemicals added to foods to make them sweet. They trigger the ‘sweetness receptors’ on the tongue in the same way as sugar. Interesting no?
Some of the popular name of sweeteners-
- Acesulfame potassium
Do you know the difference between Artificial Sweeteners & Sugars?
If no, let us allow-
- They are much sweeter.
- They are not digested and absorbed in the same way, making them much lower in calories.
If you want to know if artificial sweeteners are helping or preventing your weight loss efforts, and what to do about it, then you have to go through this article.
Can Artificial Sweeteners Help You Lose Weight?
If sweeteners are replacing a high-calorie alternative, it seems that by reducing calories they should help with weight loss.
But this case is tricky to prove. For one, measuring exactly how much people consume or how much they exercise is quite hard.
According to a review of 2016, artificial sweeteners had both lower calorie intake and reduced body weight. But these results should be treated with a lot of doubts.
Researchers say that longer-term studies are needed to confirm this. It is so obvious!
And What About The Weight Gain?
Surprisingly, some research has found that sweeteners might cause weight gain. But the latest review didn’t agree with this-
- An important question arises- if products containing artificial sweeteners contain fewer calories, how they can cause weight gain?
- Another one is whereby people who are already overweight are more likely to be choosing food or drinks with sweeteners to help with weight loss.
This makes it difficult to say how artificial sweeteners and weight gain may affect each other.
But these are the unproven theories.
Are sweeteners actually making us hungrier?
Everyone knows that our gut sends messages to our brain in the form of hormones which tell our brain when we are hungry or full. And sweeteners could interfere with these messages. However, currently, the evidence suggests that sweeteners don’t prompt the release of either of these gut hormones in humans.
Does a low-calorie option at lunch equal more at dinner?
If sweeteners are not affecting our gut, is there a psychological effect?
Daphne Katsikioti explains- ‘Some researchers have suggested that when we eat or drink products containing artificial sweeteners, we later compensate for the missing energy by eating more.’
However, the latest review found very little evidence of this!
To sweeten or not to sweeten?
The Food Safety Authority has ruled that artificial sweeteners in food and drink pose no threat to our health if consumed within a limit. Moreover, products containing sweeteners often don’t provide much nutritional benefit. And the lack of convincing evidence, it may cause weight loss shouldn’t be overlooked.
A Take Home Message to All
Artificially sweetened drinks are not a silver bullet for weight loss at all. But if you drink a lot of sugary drinks and think a diet version might help you cut down on sugar, that’s a good step!