Most people consume artificial sweeteners with the main goal to reduce calories and lose weight or control weight. If you consume these fake sweeteners, I’ll bet the reason is you believe they help you lose weight – right?
The concept of fewer calories consumed equals sure weight loss is a concept that has recently come under high scrutiny. We have learned that not all calories are equal. Food composition has a direct effect on hormones and metabolism.
Artificial sweeteners help weight loss – or – aid in weight gain?
If the goal for the use of artificial sweeteners is to aid weight loss and management, it seems it would be easy to prove they do indeed help people get, and stay, thin. The problem is, evidence has been contradictory.
The recent study published by the Canadian Medical Association, took a hard look at a series of studies conducted from various sources. They looked at observational studies (where conclusions are drawn from observation, sweetener use was not under the control of researchers) and randomized, controlled trials (where people were randomly assigned to receive artificial sweetener and another group did not consume the fake sugars.)
The evidence from the randomized, controlled trials did not support the conclusion that artificial sweeteners aid in weight management. Interestingly, the observational studies suggested that routine consumption of artificial sweeteners may be associated with increased body mass index and elevated risk of cardiometabolic disease.
Researchers cautioned that the results from the observational studies need to be confirmed by more rigorous experiments, conducted by unbiased methods.
What should you do?
An easy thing to do is to eliminate artificial sweeteners for one to three days. If you must sweeten something, use plain sugar added by you – not a product that is pre-sweetened. If you find that you want to dump multiple teaspoons of sugar into foods to make them palatable, then there is a problem. We need to help you retrain your palate and get you off the sweet-craving train. More on that in a future column.
If you eliminate artificial sweeteners, let me know how it goes. Good or bad.