Artificial Sweeteners for Weight Loss?

Q: I’m trying to cut back on calories. Is it OK to opt for foods made with artificial sweeteners?

A: If you’re looking to lose weight, turning to artifcial sweeteners might actually backfre. Scientists at Purdue University recently discovered that choosing saccharin-sweetened foods and drinks may cause greater weight gain than plain old sugar. Although their research focused on lab rats, it gels with emerging evidence that obesity risk could be higher among people who frequently drink diet soda.

When you consume sweet foods or drinks, your body readies itself to take in a lot of calories. If those calories aren’t delivered, the new study suggests, your metabolic system can get thrown off, making it harder to burn off calories and increasing your chances of overeating later on.

What’s more, saccharin (and aspartame) has been linked to cancer in a number of other animal studies. So instead of chugging diet soda or eating artifcially sweetened snacks, I’d encourage satisfying your sweet tooth with healthier foods like fruit, sorbets, or a few squares of dark chocolate.

Learn more:
The Best Sugar Substitutes
How to Break the Sugar Habit

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at drbrent@care2.com.

20 comments

Les M.
Les M.3 years ago

when trying to lose weight, isn't the most important thing is to watch how much you eat ...and exercise? i have heard xylitol is a good alternative but i don't know anything about it. i think that eating high fiber foods fills you up quicker so you don't eat as much but what do i know. i've been overweight for more years than i can count.

rene davis
irene davis3 years ago

Thank you!

Jelka V.
Jelka V.4 years ago

Try xylitol instead. It's the best thing that's been found yet. It has 40 % less calories than sugar, its flavor (unlike stevia's) is identical to ordinary sugar - and it actually heals your teeth and gums.

Don't believe me, research it!




J.L. A.
JL A.4 years ago

good reminder about saccarin

Carol D.
Past Member 4 years ago

I found Palm Sugar in an Indian shop Says is ok for diabetics been trying this and also fructose sugar Cant give up sugar altogether
Dont know which is best I have also read in an article that coconut flower sugar is good but cant seem to find it in shops here Could do with health experts opinion on Palm sugar

Prochi T.
Prochi T.5 years ago

I hv just realised the truth of your article Dr Brent. i have been on artificial sweeteners for as long as i can remember and always had a battle of the bulge on my hands. sadly i still use this sweetener. will try to change. Thank you.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

May Howie
may Howie5 years ago

I prefer pure sugar cane,I do not use a lot of it but i would rather use it

Bon L.
Bon L.6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

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Past Member 6 years ago

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