Low-Calorie Sweeteners Do Not Cause Weight Gain, Sugar Cravings

ATLANTA (August 5, 2013) — Many media reports have alleged that the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners may lead to an increase in weight gain because they cause people to crave sugar. However, there is not any research to prove this.

In fact, the majority of the research on low-calorie sweeteners shows that they do not create cravings or lead people to eat more, and that they can be used as a tool for weight loss and management.

  • In a 2012 review by Anderson et al. in The Journal of Nutrition, the authors found that the results of randomized control trials – the gold standard of study design – of low-calorie sweeteners do “not cause weight gain in adults.”
  • A 2012 review of low-calorie sweetener consumption by children and adolescents found by Foreyt et al. The Journal of Nutrition found that low calorie-sweeteners could be “used as one aspect of a multi-faceted program may be beneficial in preventing and reversing overweight and obesity.”
  • In a 2012 study by Maesrk et al. published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the authors found that “the effect of diet soda on fatness, ectopic fat, and metabolic factors is mainly neutral and very similar to that of water.” In other words, diet soda had the same effects as water and did not cause weight gain among participants.
  • In 2012, Bellisle et al. published a review in The Journal of Nutrition that found that “consumption of artificially sweetened foods and beverages does not promote weight gain and might lead to modest weight loss.” Additionally, the authors found that “consumption of artificial and low-energy sweeteners might provide an effective strategy to manage energy intake and body weight.”
  • In a 2009 review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Mattes and Popkin found that low-calorie sweeteners did not increase appetite. Additionally, they found that low-calorie sweeteners did not increase the liking of sweets or cause people to eat more sweets.
  • Drewnowski et al. published a review in a 2012 publication of The Journal of Nutritionthat found “there are no compelling data to suggest that such a repeated exposure to a (low-calorie) beverage leads to a heightened hedonic response to sweetness in general.”
  • Finally, a 2012 review by Fernstrom et al. from The Journal of Nutrition found that “low-calorie sweetener ingestion does not increase food intake or body weight.”
Hundreds of studies have concluded that low-calorie sweeteners are safe for human consumption and do not cause any unfavorable effects. Additionally, these low-calorie sweeteners have been determined to be safe by regulatory bodies world-wide, and leading health groups such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Low-calorie sweeteners can help people enjoy the foods and beverages they love while helping them to manage their weight.
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.

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