It’s simple to understand why people who are trying to lose weight turn to sugar-free options when the label clearly shows zero calories. Many of us enjoy the sweetness but not so much the calories that these foods and beverages can pack on. But are the benefits of artificial sweeteners really all what they are cracked up to be?
Know the Difference: Sugar vs. Substitutes
Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than natural sugar which is the reason why we only need a fraction of the amount to obtain the same level of sweetness as sugar. First off, there are several different types of sugar substitutes out there and many of them are marketed differently which can end up making it confusing for the consumer. For instance, some manufacturers state that their sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame or sucralose) are natural even though they are processed or refined. In most cases, these foods, although are low in calories, are filled with non-nutritive sugars which do not provide the same health benefits as natural whole foods. So which ever way that sweeteners are classified, it’s important to know that they are not the magical ingredient to a successful weight loss journey. As a matter of fact, they may be the cause of additional weight gain and can potentially hold you at higher risk of health problems.
It turns out that skipping out on the calories through synthetic sweeteners may be hurting us more than what we anticipated. Millions find it harmful to sip on “diet” soda daily, although what they don’t realize is that they may be setting themselves up for more health problems. Several studies have shown adverse effects on those who consume sugar substitutes regularly in comparison to those who do not. In fact, issues with our metabolism, gut health and overall appetite have been correlated to the consumption of artificial sweeteners.
Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Loss
Many people actually end up compensating for the zero-calorie sodas by overeating and splurging elsewhere, thinking that they have saved on calories by going the sugar-free route. In reality, the regular consumption of synthetic sweeteners can play tricks on our minds and make it even harder to cut cravings and lose weight in more ways than one. These substitutes have been linked to an increase in appetite due to the fact that the body is not getting the fuel that it was expecting from the zero-calorie soda, which also impacts the natural metabolic rate. Artificial sugars simply do not satisfy the body in the same way that sugar does which may also cause your sweet tooth to amp up and crave even more, thus becoming addictive.
Ultimately, studies have not shown support of the intended benefits of sugar substitutes on weight loss — in fact, they have demonstrated nearly the polar opposite of that! People who consume artificial sweeteners are more often associated with long-term weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other health issues. So it’s time we realize that looking past the number of calories we “skip out on” through substitutes can actually work in our favor, especially when it comes to maintaining good health.