Got a sweet tooth? Maybe a whole row of em? So do a lot of Americans. What’s the big deal, anyway? Supermarkets are stacked with artificially sweetened products- diet soda, artificially sweetened yogurt, and sugar-free candy and ice cream. A lot of diets even count these as “free foods”, and you can eat them until you explode for all they care. Can you really fill your body with chemical sweeteners without consequence? Have scientists outsmarted the human body with artificial sweeteners? I think not.
If it sounds too good to be true… yeah. Artificial sweeteners aren’t the magic pill scientists were hoping for when they sat in their chemical filled labs, altering the structure of natural food. The recent studies and reviews are pretty mixed when it comes to artificial sweeteners and weight loss. The argument that artificial sweeteners can help you lose weight is pretty simple: they’re calorie-free and could possibly lower overall calorie intake. But the argument that they hinder weight loss is more complex and a bit more intriguing.
Why artificial sweeteners may keep you from losing weight:
1) Artificial sweeteners may make you fatter.
Soft drink consumption (regular or diet) was linked to obesity and increased waist circumference in a 2007 study in the “Journal of the American Heart Association.” Yes, people who drank diet soda weighed more than people who didn’t drink soda.
2) They may confuse the body’s natural ability to count sweet calories, which can lead to overeating.
There’s a reason people compare taking care of your body to car maintenance. Your body is a fine-tuned machine, and it’s freakin smart. It has many mechanisms in place to alert you if you’re overeating. But this study shows that artificial sweeteners may disrupt this process and cause you to eat more.
3) Eating foods with artificial sweeteners make you crave sweeter food and drinks.
Artificial sweeteners are waaaay sweeter than natural sweeteners. It only takes a little bit of artificial sweetener to flavor your coffee or tea, but it takes tablespoons of the raw stuff. If you’re chugging diet soda like it spewed from the fountain of youth, then something that’s naturally sweet, like an apple, isn’t going to taste as sweet to you. If you consume artificial sweeteners, it takes more for you to get your sweet fix compared to someone who doesn’t do diet foods.
If you’re a diet sweetener junkie, don’t worry. Making the change to healthier, more natural foods can help you feel better and drop the weight. Try some of these delish recipes.
Instead of diet soda, try:
8 oz club soda (naturally calorie free) on ice
½ cup of your favorite fruit, sliced thinly (citrus, berries, cucumber, or melons are great)
1 Tablespoon of your favorite herb (mint and rosemary are popular)
Instead of ice cream, try blending these ingredients:
1 frozen banana (sliced before freezing)
¼ cup almond, skim, or soy milk
½ cup berries
1 Tablespoon coconut shavings (without sugar added) sprinkled on top
What do you think about the artificial sweetener controversy? Are you going to drop the diet drinks and food?