Keri Peterson, MD: The Myth of Low Calorie Sweeteners Causing Cravings

Dr. Keri Peterson
Medical Advisor to the Calorie Control Council 

Have you ever been told that low-calorie sweetened foods or drinks will make you crave sugar even more?  This myth has been perpetuated on blogs and talk shows all over the media.  The thought behind this belief is that if you eat “fake sugar” then your body will want the real thing even more.  That you are tricking your body into believing it got a sweet fix.

The reality is that this notion just isn’t true- it has been disproven over and over again in multiple medical studies.  In fact, many studies have found that people who replace full calorie beverages with low-calorie sweetened ones tend to make better dietary choices and eat less sweets, subsequently losing weight.  For example, in a study of purchases at the supermarket, those who bought low-calorie sweetened drinks were buying healthy foods and not buying higher calorie foods.

In another study, the participants replaced sugar-sweetened beverages with either low-calorie sweetened beverages or water.  Both groups decreased their intake of sugar-containing beverages.  Even more compelling is that the low-calorie sweetened beverage group decreased their dessert and sweet food intake even more than the water group.

So if you think diet soda will make you want chocolate cake, think again.  Ingesting low-calorie sweeteners doesn’t give you a sweet-tooth.


About Keri Peterson, MD

KeriPetersonMDDr. Peterson is a medical contributor and columnist for Women’s Health and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News and CNN. Based in New York City, Dr. Peterson has been in private practice since 1999 and holds appointments at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center.   With a BA from Cornell University and a Medical Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Peterson is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association, and serves as medical advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.

Media Contacts