Today, the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners has doubled among US children over the past decade (1). Many people try to substitue sugar table with artificial sweeteners to help improve their weight loss. For some, results can be successful, whereas others may be a little more disappointed after realizing an increase in their body weight instead of an efficient weight loss.
Artificial sweeteners are known for their benefit of providing zero calories in our diet (2). They can be found in many variety of food and beverages such as soft drinks, chewing gums, jellies, candies, yogurts, ice creams and other food sources. They are often labeled as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diet’.
Although artificial sweeteners provide zero calories in our diet, carbohydrates (glucose) are still the number one fuel of energy to our brain. When you start eliminating all food sources added with sugar from your diet wether it is sugar table, pops, ice cream, candies or yogurts, your brain gradually starts to crave the real sugar for its preferred source of energy. In the long term, people will have a higher risk of dropping their ‘sugar-free diet’ and in turn, return to their previous eating habits with food rich in real sugar to help compensate with that lack of sugar in their body. Results have shown that sugar sweetened beverages in children and adults contribute to excess energy intake and are linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes and dental caries (3). Although a tax is added to all sweetened-beverages to help reduce this negative outcome in people’s health, many are still buying them due to the side effect of artificial sweeteners in their body. Another study found that pregnant women who consumed artificial sweeteners during pregnancy had infants with higher BMI (body mass index) and risk of being overweight at 1 year old (4).
In contrast, artificial sweeteners are more suitable for people living with diabetes to help regulate their blood sugar level in the normal range (2). Despite the dietary recommendation of adding artificial sweeteners in their food and beverages, people living with diabetes are still recommended to consume carbohydrates in their diet to help normalize their blood sugar level, especially with the use of medication for diabetes.
Weight loss does not only require healthy eating habits, but also to develop mindful eating strategies to overcome food cravings and increase our awareness in our food environment. If you feel that you are struggling with your body weight and body image, contact your SNC’s Registered dietitian today and get the help you need for a better lifestyle, especially to establish a more peaceful relationship with food. Remember to enjoy your food with pleasure everyone. -SNC-
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