Sweet and empty: Using sugar substitutes won’t really help you lose weight, says study
03/05/2019 // Cassie B. // Views

Sugar substitutes are unquestionably bad for you, but many people who are trying to lose weight aren’t exactly averse to taking on a few risks if they think it will help them reach their goal faster. Unfortunately, those who make this choice are putting their health in danger for no good reason as studies show sugar substitutes do not actually help people to lose weight.

In a major new review carried out by the international non-profit research group Cochrane, scientists pored over data from 56 studies that were set up to examine various types of sweeteners and measured participants' body mass index, weight, blood sugar control, mood, oral health, eating behavior, and problems like cancer, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. They discovered that there was not any statistical difference when it came to the weight loss of those who used high doses of such sweeteners.

The review, which was published in the British Medical Journal, will be used by the World Health Organization as it prepares it guidance on non-sugar sweeteners, or NSSs, which include artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin as well as no- and low-calorie natural alternatives like stevia. The WHO is preparing guidance on sweeteners given their widespread use and heavy promotion as “healthier” alternatives to sugar.

The review stated: “No evidence was seen for health benefits from NSSs and potential harms could not be excluded.”

Some of those “potential harms” should not be taken lightly. Some studies have found a link between sugar substitute consumption and serious problems like a greater risk of health dangers like type 2 diabetes and obesity.


When it comes to diet soda in particular, there’s an ever-expanding pile of evidence that it’s not the “healthier” alternative so many people desperately want it to be. In fact, a recent study that followed more than 80,000 post-menopausal women over an average of 11.9 years showed that drinking two artificially sweetened drinks of any type per day is linked to a higher risk of clot-based strokes, early death and heart attacks in women older than 50. The risk was especially high among those women who were obese, African-American, or had no history of diabetes or heart disease. Diet sodas have also been linked to dementia.

It’s believed that one way sweeteners get in the way of weight loss efforts is by changing gut bacteria in a way that promotes weight gains; there’s also the theory that the brain reacts to sweeteners and sugar in the same way when it comes to body weight control. They’re also believed to increase people’s appetite, making them more likely to overeat after they consume them.

What can you drink if you want to lose weight?

Sugar substitutes are bad for you, and sugar itself isn’t much better. So what can you drink if you’re looking to shed a few pounds? One of the study’s authors, Joerg J. Meerpohl, offers up some sound advice: “Finally, there is a good, and safe, alternative for people/people trying to lose weight: water, and non-/less-sweetened foods. In other words, there is no need to either add free additional sugar, or sweeteners in most instances.”

Experts suggest that people who find drinking water to be “boring” infuse their water with natural flavors, such as lemon, oranges, strawberries, mint, or basil. Herbal tea is another good option, as long as you don’t sweeten it!

Sweeteners are found in so many different foods, including diet sodas, “light” yogurt, chewing gum, frozen desserts, “light” baked goods, and sugar-free candy. If you’re eating any of these foods, you need to know that you’re not doing yourself any favors. By sticking to what nature has provided us, on the other hand, it’s hard to go wrong.

Sources for this article include:




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