Low- and no-calorie sweeteners increase appetite.
Low- and no-calorie sweeteners have no effect on appetite, but here’s how they can help. Since they make low-calorie foods and beverages tastier, they make it easier to follow a lower-calorie regimen. This is well established among those who strive to eat a balanced diet. The federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that people who eat a balanced diet are also likely to drink low- and no-calorie beverages. Results from the government’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the Diet Health and Knowledge Survey reveal that people who consume low-calorie foods and beverages are more aware of what they eat, eat a more balanced diet and consume fewer daily calories.
Drinking low- and no-calorie beverages leads to a desire for sweets.
Scientific research in humans shows that sugar substitutes do not cause sweet cravings, nor do they cause hunger. In the recent Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) study, researchers compared low- and no-calorie beverages with water and found that neither caused food cravings. In fact, the diet beverage drinkers ate less dessert than those who drank water alone. Meanwhile, a scientific review paper that gathered the findings of multiple studies done with children and teens as participants found no evidence that low- and no-calorie sweeteners prompted snacking or overeating at meals.
The low-calorie sweetener, aspartame, is unsafe.
Aspartame is a commonly used low-calorie sweetener that has been extensively tested and declared safe by governmental and independent organizations all over the world. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have found it to be safe for use in foods and beverages.
In fact, EFSA reaffirmed that aspartame is safe for consumption by the general population as recently as December 2013. This opinion is based on the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame to-date.
According to decades of scientific research, aspartame can be an effective tool in both weight loss and weight management. It is also recommended as a sugar substitute by the American Diabetes Association.
Q & A
Q: Does drinking diet soda cause weight gain?
A: No. In fact, diet sodas, which are 99 percent water, have been proven to be an effective tool for weight loss and weight maintenance.
When it comes to obesity, all calories count, regardless of their source. Science has shown that the key to maintaining a healthy weight is energy balance, that is balancing calories consumed with calories burned. Many people trying to lose weight often switch to diet beverages that contain low-calorie sweeteners as a way to reduce their caloric intake.
According to the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), low-calorie sweeteners can help reduce calories and sugar intake and aid in maintaining a healthy weight.