Artificial Sweeteners – Can they help you lose weight?
Artificial sweeteners are low-calorie or calorie-free chemical substances that are used to sweeten foods, etc. instead of sugar. They are over a hundred times sweeter than sugar. The most common sweeteners approved for use in the UK are aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol, sucralose, stevia and xylitol.
Artificial sweeteners are found in thousands of products including drinks, chewing gum and toothpaste, to name a few. Most diet or low-calorie food products are made using artificial sweeteners. So, with next to no calories, why shouldn’t we give them a go you ask yourself?
Well, one concern about artificial sweeteners is that they affect the body’s ability to gauge how many calories are being consumed.
One American study performed functional MRI scans as volunteers took small sips of water sweetened with sugar or sucralose. The results showed sugar activated regions of the brain involved in food reward, while sucralose didn’t. The brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more. By providing a sweet taste without any satisfying calories, artificial sweeteners cause us to crave even more sweet foods and drinks, which can then lead to overeating.
At this stage, there is not enough evidence to determine if using sweeteners leads to weight loss or not. The real issue is that artificial sweeteners are so chemically processed, it is the complete antithesis of the ‘eat clean’ lifestyle that we are aiming for.