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Do artificial sweeteners support weight-loss?

Sugar is naturally rich in calories, thus loaded with energy. Too much sugar will lead to weight gain because of the increase of calories within the diet. One possible solution, to help with a sweet tooth, is to replace sugar with an artificial sweetener. But, do artificial sweeteners help with weight-loss?

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are additives that are sweet in nature, but do not have sugar or calories within them. Some are naturally extracted from plant-based materials, whereas others are created through a manufacturing process. Sweeteners are often used as substitutes for high sugar drinks or for other fruit products.

Artificial sweeteners come in a variety of brands and types. They all do taste differently. Some of them are bitter and are often mixed with other sweeteners to make them taste sweeter.

Can artificial sweeteners help with weight loss?

It is hard to study artificial sweeteners and know conclusively if they lead to weight-loss or not, as there is a lot of contradictory research. In general, research data suggests that using sweeteners will lower someone’s overall calorie in-take. This will lead to weight loss because fewer calories are being consumed.

Some research even suggests that using artificial sweeteners can help reduce the overall craving for sugar rich foods and drinks. This is particularly true with drinks such as Diet Coke. Researchers found that after a short period of drinking the sugar free alternative, participants found that the sugar-based version was sickly and had an overwhelming taste that was far too sweet.

Are sweeteners good for you?

The debate over the impact of artificial sweeteners on health and body weight has raged for decades. Some of the earliest concerns were sparked by animal research in the 1970s that suggested that artificial sweeteners could cause cancer. But later studies in humans disputed those claims, and the American Cancer Society, which reviewed the evidence in 2016, concluded that there is no clear evidence of a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer.

The impact of artificial sweeteners on body weight has also been controversial. Over the years, some observational studies have found that people who consume a lot of diet beverages have a higher obesity risk, suggesting that artificial sweeteners might cause weight gain. However, people who are more likely to use artificial sweeteners may gain weight for a variety of other reasons, such as poor diet and lack of exercise, rather than simply through the use of artificial sweeteners.

What can be concluded is that artificial sweeteners are far better for weight management than sugar. However, scientists and dieticians have argued that sweet things should be regarded more as a treat, rather than part of a daily diet.

Artificial sweeteners are a good tool to reduce sugar in your diet and should be seen as a mechanism to achieve this. However, water and fruit will always be a better alternative than a sugar free drink or treat.

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