Artificial Sweeteners and 0 Calorie Drinks- do they cause weight gain?
More and more people are trying to stay away from refined sugar and find themselves switching to artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, equal, and sweet n’ low. Although these sugar substitutes have “0” calories they can contribute to weight gain.
First off those sweeteners do not have 0 calories they contain about 3-5 calories per packet depending on which you use. These sweeteners have calories because they also contain dextrose which is a sugar that has caloric value. Second, these sweeteners can have a effect on weight gain because they subconsciously make you hungrier. They make you hungrier either mentally because they make you want more or they make you hungrier in a more physical sense. What I mean by this is when you put an artificial sweetener in your body your body wants a bunch of calories from it but its getting very few. So now that your body is looking for energy to use but doesn’t actually have it your body will tell your brain "I need food" therefore making you want more sweetness or more food in general.
There have been some studies that have shown that these sweeteners can also possibly raise insulin levels which contribute to cravings, but I’m not going to get into the science of that in this post. So the bottom line is that artificial sweeteners can cause you to feel hungrier after consumption.
Most diet drinks like diet coke actually do have 0 or about 1 calorie. This is because they do not use dextrose but rather aspartame which is in fact nearly 0 calories. My philosophy is that anything with 0 calories cannot make you gain weight however it’s the hunger that they cause that leads to cravings that lead to eating that make people gain weight which is why people say diet drinks cause weight gain- they cause it indirectly.
Now for the substitute to the sugar substitute- there is an all natural sweetener called Stevia which is basically 0 calories and its derived from a plant. Since it is all natural it is much healthier than those other sweeteners which are just chemicals made in a lab. There are a few brands that I suggest like Truvia and Kal.
You are going to look at the prices of these and think “ Tony are you crazy I can't be spending this much money on a sugar substitute.” Although they are a little pricier they are very, very sweet so you really don’t need much to get your desired sweetness. And FYI, I just happen to like and use this product, I do not get an endorsement from them in any way.
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what to do. Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.
Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him. He lists general guidelines and suggestions only. He is NOT a professional.