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Do artificial sweeteners prevent weight loss

Do artificial sweeteners prevent weight loss

it’s true that our bodies depend mainly on sugar as an immediate supply of energy.

Without sugar, the body would struggle to function properly, as the sweet taste helps to orient body behavior towards foods that provide energy.

But despite the benefits, our bodies gain when eating sugar, the increased consumption of sweetened foods and beverages develops sugar addiction which is the root of many health issues.

Unfortunately, the low cost and the availability of sweetened products have fueled the number of obesity all over the world. [1]

However, the increased concerns about obesity and diabetes have made low or non-caloric sweeteners a better choice. In fact, it offers sweetness along with no calories.

Yet still, we need further studies to clarify whether there are any potential health issues that might develop from the prolonged use of these sweeteners or not.

Non-caloric sweeteners provide greater sweetness intensity compared to sugar, but still, it either has no calories or small amounts of it.

As we all know, non-nutritive sweeteners are not equal. As some are derived from plants while others from sugar or alcohol.

Also, these sweeteners differ in their metabolism and their effect on brain and body chemistry. So can these non-caloric sweeteners make you put on weight even if it lacks calories?

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In this article, we will answer do artificial sweeteners prevent weight loss or not.

But first, let’s know how it affects your body.     

do artificial sweeteners prevent weight loss
Do artificial sweeteners prevent weight loss

Do artificial sweeteners cause belly fat?

As a rule, balancing blood sugar may represent your only ticket to enjoy a healthy weight loss, [1] So, we must make sure that the sweeteners we use won’t contribute to raising blood sugar. However, raising blood sugar may raise insulin levels that cause belly fat.

Blood sugar level is a crucial part that must draw our attention when trying to lose weight.

As we see, it is the energy measure in our body that rises upon eating significant amounts of carbohydrates and drops when fasting for prolonged periods of time.

Moreover, blood sugar dictates your brain how hungry you are. Therefore, it controls the amount of food needed to satisfy your hunger. 

Our bodies put strict strategies to maintain stabilized blood sugar levels. Insulin is the hormone used by the body to ensure an optimum sugar level. Insulin works as the master key that allows sugar to enter cells and provide it with the energy needed to function properly.

As a result, the amount of sugar circulating the blood returns to its normal levels after the ingestion of a meal rich in carbohydrates. 

Although non-caloric sweeteners may not hold any proven health benefits till now, it still provides an acceptable alternative to refined sugar for diabetics and those who tend to lose weight. 

The American diabetes associationadvised to consume non-caloric sweeteners instead of refined sugar for diabetics. In fact, it doesn’t increase blood sugar level. [2]

The blood sugar may remain stable upon the ingestion of non-caloric sweeteners. But still their effect on insulin shows conflicting results, as not all sweeteners are the same.

A study was conducted on 17 participants who ingested either sucralose solution (artificial sweetener) or water. The results of blood analysis revealed that there is a 20% increase in insulin levels in participants who ingested sucralose solution. [3] 

Meanwhile, other studies on saccharin and aspartame proved that the insulin levels remain the same. [4, 5]   

Effects of artificial sweeteners on the brain

What is the effect of artificial sweeteners on the brain and Do artificial sweeteners trigger hunger and prevent weight loss?
Understanding how the brain centers can translate tastes is a crucial part to find out ways to manage our appetite. 

In fact, tastes are linked to hunger and satiety perceptions.

However, an interesting study was conducted using (MRI) on brain reward centers. This study aimed to assess the difference between the impact of regular and artificial sweeteners on the brain. 

A group of 20 healthy men ingested either sucrose or non-caloric sweeteners while undergoing an MRI scan.

The results were surprising as the brain reward centers were not activated when ingesting non-caloric sweeteners. Though, sucrose ingestion had an effect on the reward centers, although, both of them share the sweet taste. [6] 

Another study tested the effect of caloric and non-caloric sweeteners on satiety. As participants consumed either high caloric gelatine sweetened with sucrose or low caloric gelatine sweetened with aspartame. The results revealed that there were no significant differences in hunger, satiety, and desire to eat more upon the ingestion of two kinds of gelatine. [7] 

We can conclude that non-caloric sweeteners don’t affect brain reward centers as refined sugar does. However, it still has the same effect on satiety and hunger as ordinary sweets.  

How can non-caloric sweeteners offset weight loss?

Now it’s clear that artificial sweeteners and other natural non-caloric sweeteners such as stevia and erythritol are the ideal alternatives to cut off some calories in your diet. Although, they are not the magic wand that can make you lose weight. 

These sweeteners will neither raise your blood sugar, insulin levels nor affect your appetite. However, some people who use it didn’t experience any weight loss. 

Here are some reasons that can fix your weight or even worse, gain weight while using non-caloric sweeteners:

  • You are not swallowing the sweeteners alone, we just use it as a sweetener for countless foods and beverages. So, it presents one ingredient among at least three or more ingredients that might be high in calories. Then, even that the sweetener is zero-calorie still the whole food may still be rich in calories.
  • While the non-caloric sweeteners may help you cut some calories. Still you have to pay attention not to trick yourself by replacing the lost calories from other sources rich in calories. 
  • Finally, non-nutritive sweeteners are hundreds of times more potent than refined sugar. This means that minute amounts of it can offer sweetness similar to that of sugar without mentioning calories. Then, frequent consumption may tackle your taste buds and makes less-intensely sweet food unpalatable, just as ordinary sweets do. [8]

The right use of non-caloric sweetener to help you lose weight:

Understanding that depending only on non-caloric sweeteners won’t make you lose weight is a good start.

These sweeteners give you the chance to enjoy your favorite food with low calories. However, you still have to follow a diet plan that suits you to avoid gaining calories from other food components. 

You should use non-caloric sweeteners to counter any effects developing from overconsumption such as sugar addiction.

So, you have to limit the amounts used to not get used to the intense high sweet taste it offers.