As far back as the 1970s, studies showed that those who drank drinks with artificial sweeteners did not have more weight loss. Some studies actually showed some had higher weights, which may be due to people consuming more foods since they are not drinking calories.
Five artificial sweeteners and one low calorie natural sweetener have been approved by the FDA. The artificial sweeteners are saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame and sucralose. The natural sweetener is stevia. These were deemed safe by the FDA since the amount studied did not show a risk of cancer, but this was less than the amount in 24 ounces of diet soda. So, as people consume more and more sweeteners, the risk is unknown at this time.
Artificial sweeteners are much more potent than sugar or HFCS, so it may change our perception of sweet. Overstimulation of products that are so sweet, may make it unpalatable to eat items that aren’t as sweet, such as fruit or vegetables. Therefore, changing our diet without us even thinking about it.
Newer studies are showing there may be a correlation between the consumption of these products with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The issue with the tie to diabetes, is that the population is getting larger so more and more are becoming diabetic.
Overall, the data is still inconclusive about the real healthiness of artificial sweeteners. We recommend you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean proteins. Some items, such as fruits, whole grains, dairy products and starchy vegetables, contain natural sugars which we want to consume. Many of these products contain vital vitamins and minerals and have fiber.
– Siobhan Vogel MS, RD, CSP, LD & The StarFit Nutrition Team