December 2, 2023

Healthy Choice

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Can Artificial Sweeteners Help With Weight Loss?

When saccharin, the first artificial sweetener, was discovered in 1879, it was considered a boon for people with diabetes. That’s because it could sweeten foods without triggering a spike in blood sugar, as an organization devoted to saccharin’s research and history notes. Since that time, a torrent of artificial sweeteners has flooded the market, with promises about not only diabetes management but also weight loss. The idea, of course, is that artificial sweeteners’ lack of calories and carbs allows people to enjoy sweet flavors without a high metabolic price tag. (Sounds like the ultimate example of “have your cake and eat it too,” no?)

As of 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six types of artificial sweeteners:

  • Saccharin (Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet)
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Sugar Twin, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K (Sweet One, Sunett)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Neotame (Newtame)
  • Advantame

Each has its own unique advantages and drawbacks, and numerous studies have examined the safety and efficacy of each for weight loss. Still, faux sweeteners have been plagued by accusations of everything from causing cancer to making you pack on excess pounds rather than shed them.

Wondering whether reaching for a little pink or blue packet could really lead to weight loss? Here’s what science and experts have to say.