Pink. Blue. Yellow. You’ve seen the little packets on the tables of many restaurants. The theory of using these artificial sweeteners is to enjoy sweet-tasting food and beverages without all the extra calories, potential weight gain, and other health issues.
There isn’t any evidence that sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose help people manage their weight. People who use these sweeteners regularly are more likely to develop future health problems. A quarter of American children and 41 percent of adults report consuming them at least once a day. Since so many people use them, it is important to study the health effects of using them.
Most people use the products as an everyday choice, rather than a weight loss choice, trying to eat healthy. There’s no weight loss benefit to using them, as well as a potential for increased weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal followed the habits of 406,000 people over time. Tracking large groups over a long period reflects how people live. The study found a small increase in BMI in those who used sweeteners, along with a 14 percent higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, for those who heavily consumed artificial sweeteners than those who consumed less. There was also a 32 percent greater chance of developing heart disease in those who were heavy users.
Sweeteners may help with weight loss if used one-to-one as a replacement for sugar-sweetened drinks and food, but that’s not how they are normally used. They may enhance your sweet tooth and prompt you to eat more sugary foods. They also might change your metabolism for the worse.
People should think before selecting an artificial sweetener thinking they are a healthy substitute. One option is to retrain your body to need sweets by drinking fruit-infused water, black coffee, and eating plain yogurt with fruit.
Hobson, Katherine. “Artificial Sweeteners Don’t Help People Lose Weight, Review Finds.” Your Health. NPR, 17 Jul 2017. Web. 18 Jul 2017.