You already know that too much sugar is bad for you. Not only can it cause you to gain weight, sugar also has been shown to cause inflammation and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. However, if you’re thinking artificial sweeteners are a healthier option or may help you lose weight, think again.
In January, German researchers, funded by the World Health Organization, published a report in the BMJ examining years of research from 56 studies, only to find there’s still little to no evidence that artificial sweeteners help with weight loss – or much of anything else.
The researchers searched for a number of health-related issues, including weight, blood sugar, cancer, heart disease, and mood. Overall, they found no real difference between those who used sugar and those who used artificial sweeteners – no matter how much sweetener was consumed.
One of the more interesting findings was that there was no difference in weight gain or weight loss between those adults and children consuming sugar versus artificial sweeteners, even with those who were actively trying to lose weight.
The Problems with Sugar Substitutes FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Artificial sweeteners are just that – artificial. As such, they are packed with chemicals which can wreak havoc on the body’s immune system. Artificial sweeteners are harder to metabolize, leaving our bodies with fewer resources to detoxify the variety of chemicals we are exposed to through food and the environment.
Another example, a 2018 study published in the journal Molecules, determined that six common artificial sweeteners -- aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k. — were toxic to the digestive gut microbes in rats. Poor gut health causes a variety of problems, including poor nutrient absorption, lowered immune systems, anxiety, and weight gain.
A study that was presented at Experimental Biology 2018 found that after feeding groups of rats sugar (glucose or fructose) versus artificial sweeteners (aspartame or acesulfame potassium), the concentration of biochemicals, fats, and amino acids was significantly higher in the artificial sweetener group. Again, this suggests that artificial sweeteners alter how the body processes fat and gets energy. In moderation, your body is designed to handle sugar. But when it is overloaded with artificial sweeteners, it negatively changes how the body metabolizes both fat and energy.
Which is Worse: Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners?
This is the question that scientists have been studying for years, and the answer is not simple. However, at least with sugar – which is natural – your body is designed to break it down. Artificial sweeteners require changing the way you process the chemicals, which may be worse in the long run.
The key for both sugar and artificial sweeteners is moderation. For sugar, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting your intake to 5 teaspoons a day (about 20 Grams) for women and 9 teaspoons a day (about 36 Grams) for men.
As for diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, if you don’t have diabetes and haven’t already switched, you may want to reconsider before you make the leap. If you are already regularly consuming artificial sweeteners and find it hard to stop, focus on moderation.