Sweetener instead of sugar: does the substitute really help you lose weight?

If you’re in the mood for sweets, you don’t automatically have to put up with tons of calories. Countless artificial alternatives promise pleasure without regrets.

But sweeteners don’t always have the best reputation. On the one hand, the often unnatural taste is a problem, it simply cannot be compared to real sugar.

On the other hand, there are many nasty rumors about the sweet placeholders: they are carcinogenic, would certainly cause cravings and ultimately encourage people to eat much more than they should, they say.

In view of the rapid advance of substitutes, the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned an international team of researchers to summarize and evaluate worldwide findings on sweeteners.

However, those who hoped for precise instructions regarding the consumption of sugar substitutes will be disappointed: Even after extensive analysis, the researchers came to the conclusion that the data collected is still insufficient to be really meaningful.

The knowledge gained should therefore be treated with caution. Nonetheless, certain trends are emerging that scientists are confident will one day be definitively proven.

Sweeteners: Unsuitable for diets

The bad news first: In general, it seems that major long-term weight loss from increased use of sweeteners is unlikely.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go straight back to real sugar – quite the opposite.

In a supplementary comment on the study, Vasanti Malik from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health sees room for sweeteners, especially as a starting point for people who like to consume sweet drinks, for example.

While water is preferable in the long term, diet drinks can be a real help in the short term. It has not been proven that sweeteners trigger hunger pangs.

Sweetener is not just sweetener

Many people are particularly interested in the effects of artificial sweetness on our health.

Again, the news is disappointing: It’s just not possible to say with certainty whether the substitutes are really safe or whether their continued use increases the risk of cancer or diabetes.

Partly that’s because there are too many different variations: whether it’s cyclamate or aspartame, and especially in recent years, stevia has been boosted — scientists have pointed out that each ingredient has different effects.

Much more targeted research is therefore required to substantiate or rule out health risks.

Conclusion: In general, it’s not a bad idea to limit your consumption of sweets. But don’t expect to shed pounds just by substituting sweeteners for sugar.

If you are not sure about the long-term effects of sweeteners due to the unsecured knowledge, it is probably better to do without both.

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