Artificial sweeteners and weight gain? I know it sounds counter-intuitive but there are studies to show that rather than decreasing weight, artificial sweeteners may actually result in weight gain.
Research linking Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain
There is a great deal of advertising and promotion of the benefits of low calorie, low sugar products with the use of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are also called sugar replacers or non-nutritive sweeteners. Some commonly used artificial sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, Splenda and stevia.
There has been research linking artificial sweeteners with many conditions ranging from mild conditions such as headaches and dizziness, to mood disorders, through to fibromyalgia, seizures, type 2 diabetes and cancers.
However, we are now discovering that not only could artificial sweeteners cause disease, there may also be a link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. The one thing that they were intended to prevent!
Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Cravings
A study conducted by Yale University looked at the link between artificial sweeteners and sugar cravings and concluded:
“Sweetness decoupled from caloric content offers partial, but not complete, activation of the food reward pathways. …. Animals seek food to satisfy the inherent craving for sweetness, even in the absence of energy need. Lack of complete satisfaction, likely because of the failure to activate the postingestive component, further fuels the food seeking behavior. Reduction in reward response may contribute to obesity”
Artificial Sweeteners Heart Disease and Weight Gain
A review conducted by the University of Manitoba investigated Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health and BMI. The review covered
- 11 774 citations and included 7 trials, covering 1003 participants with a median follow-up of 6 months and
- 30 cohort studies covering 405 907 participants with a median follow-up of 10 years.
They concluded that
“Evidence from RCTs [randomised control trials] does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management [weight loss], and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI [increased weight] and cardiometabolic risk [diabetes, heart disease or stroke]”
Artificial Sweeteners Heart Disease and Strokes
Recent research published by the American Heart Association journal on 1 March 2019 examined the link between Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in US postmenopausal women. The comprehensive study included 81,714 postmenopausal women of ages 50 to 79 years from an original total of 93 676 women and spanned over the years of 1993 to 1998. The study had a mean follow-up time of 11.9 years. Only participants who completed a follow-up visit 3 years after the baseline were included in the study.
The conclusion of the study was: