Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain? What Are The Side Effects On You?

By: Evie Langford

If you are a regular person interested in diet, you also know that sweeteners belong to the group of carbohydrates with a high GI and will help your blood sweeteners increase quickly when you consume them.

However, we all enjoy natural sweeteners and stay away from artificial sweeteners.

We all believe that artificial sweeteners will have the ability to increase fat storage and build more visceral fat. This has to do with overall energy factors when you take in for a day.

So is artificial sweeteners really the cause of your weight gain or the cause of belly fat in this article, we will learn about that and the side effects of artificial sweeteners if you eat enough or eat it too much.

Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain? What Are The Side Effects On You?
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain? What Are The Side Effects On You?

Sweetener – artificial sweetener, or artificial sweeteners – is produced with the original purpose of helping people reduce their natural sweeteners consumption and avoid the harmful effects of overeating. But is the sweetener really as beneficial as we expected it to be?

Artificial sweeteners, sweeteners… No matter what name you like to call them, there is an undeniable fact that these sweeteners are now receiving increasing attention. From consumers, there is a myriad of heated debates around their real effects on health.

On the one hand, they are believed to increase the risk of cancer and negatively affect blood sweeteners levels and gut health. But on the other hand, most health authorities rate them as safe, and many people still take these substances to reduce their sweeteners intake and lose weight.

So where is the truth?

This article will take a comprehensive look at and analyze the scientific evidence on the effects of artificial sweeteners on our health.

The studies mentioned in the article are all posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – a prestigious official information site of the United States the scientific community in general and the medical community in particular. Now BellyFatZone invites you to refer to this article together!

1. What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners, also known as “sweeteners substitutes,” are chemicals that are added to foods and drinks to create sweetness.

People often call them “strong sweeteners” because they give off the same taste as regular sweeteners, but sweetness is thousands of times higher.

And while some sweeteners contain energy, the amount needed to create the desired flavor is often so small that you will barely add any extra calories of melon to your body.

2. How do artificial sweeteners work?

The surface of our tongue is covered with taste spines, each of which contains receptors for different tastes.

When we eat, the molecules of the food come into contact with the taste receptors, and if the two sides match, a signal is generated and transmitted to the brain allowing us to determine the taste of the food.

How do artificial sweeteners work?

The sweeteners molecule, for example, would fit into a sweetness receptor like a key and a lock, allowing the brain to detect sweetness.

Artificial sweeteners are structurally similar to sweeteners molecules, enough that they fit into the sweet taste receptors.

But most of them differ from sweeteners in a way that prevents the cells from breaking down for energy like natural sweeteners. That's why they taste sweet but don't add calories.

There are only a handful of sweeteners that are structured properly for the body to break down for energy, but since the amount of substances needed is often so small, we end up with hardly any excess energy.

Read more: Effects of sweet potatoes

3. What types of artificial sweeteners are there?

Until now scientists have discovered a lot of chemicals that have a sweet taste, but only certain ones are used in the food industry. The following is a list of artificial sweeteners permitted to be used in the US and the European Union:

  • Aspartame: 200 times sweeter than sucrose (cane sweeteners), with the brands Nutrasweet, Equal, and sweeteners Twin.
  • Acesulfame Potassium: 200 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking and baking, with the brand's Sunset and Sweet One.
  • Advantame: 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking and baking.
  • Aspartame-acesulfame salt: 350 times sweeter than sucrose, under the brand name Twinsweet.
  • Cyclamate: 50 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking and baking. However, this substance has been banned from use in the US since 1970.
  • Neotame: 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking and baking, under brand name Newtame.
  • Neohesperidin: 340 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking, baking, and mixed with sour foods. This substance is not licensed for use in the US.
  • Saccharin: 700 times sweeter than sucrose sweeteners, with brands Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, and Necta Sweet.
  • Sucralose: 600 times sweeter than sucrose, suitable for cooking, baking, and mixing with sour foods, under the brand name Splenda.
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Bottom Line: A wide variety of sweeteners have been found today, but not all are accepted worldwide. The most common ones are aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, and potassium acesulfame.

So you already have a relatively complete understanding of the “origin” of artificial sweeteners. Now we will take turns to find out their effects on human health.

4. The relationship between sweetener with weight and appetite

The relationship between sweetener with weight and appetite

Artificial sweeteners are a familiar choice for people trying to lose weight. However, their effects on appetite and weight vary from study to study.

For appetite

Some people believe that sweeteners can actually increase appetite and promote weight gain. They think these substances may not be able to stop the response needed in your brain to make you feel satisfied after eating.

Because they do not contain the same energy as other regular sweeteners, they still make us feel as hungry as if they were not eaten.

In addition, some scientists believe that if you want to be full, you will have to consume foods artificially sweetened in larger amounts than when eating foods with sweet taste thanks to regular sweeteners. There is even an opinion that sweeteners can cause a craving for sweet energy foods.

While these theories sound plausible, recent research doesn't support the idea that artificial sweeteners increase hunger or increase calorie intake.

In fact, studies have noted that participants who consume sweeteners reported feeling less hungry and consuming fewer calories than when consuming sweeteners foods.

Recent studies have found that replacing regular sweeteners with an artificial sweetener can reduce hunger and reduce calorie intake.

Effects on weight

With regard to weight control, several observational studies have shown a link between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and obesity. However, more accurate studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can actually reduce weight, fat, and waist circumference.

Studies have also shown that replacing regular soft drinks with sweeteners-free ones can lower body mass index (BMI) by 1.3 to 1.7.

What's more, using artificially sweetened foods instead of sweeteners can reduce total daily calorie consumption. Studies from 4 weeks to 40 months have shown that it can help lose up to 1.3 kg of weight.

Artificially sweetened beverages easily become the choice for those who want to reduce their daily sweeteners intake.

However, those “diet soft drinks” won't help you lose weight at all if you compensate by eating more sweets. If diet soft drinks increase your cravings for sweetness, stick to filtered water for best.

Replacing regular sweeteners foods and drinks with artificially sweetened ones can help you lose a bit of weight.

Read more: How to use whey protein powder to gain muscle?

5. Relationship with diabetes

Diabetics can benefit from artificial sweeteners, which give them a feeling of satisfaction without raising blood sweeteners. However, some studies show that consuming diet drinks can increase the risk of diabetes by 6 to 121%.

The results may sound contradictory, but it should be noted that all of these studies are observational, meaning they cannot prove a causal relationship that artificial sweeteners cause diabetes, but rather the only conclusion was that people who were susceptible to type 2 diabetes were also those who liked to drink diet soft drinks.

Relationship with diabetes

On the other hand, many studies have shown that artificial sweeteners do not affect blood sweeteners levels nor insulin levels in the blood.

So far, only a small study has uncovered negative effects: women who drink artificial sweeteners just before consuming sweeteners drink have 14% higher blood sweeteners and high blood insulin levels. 20% more than those who previously drank filtered water.

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However, that can be partly explained by these people not used to artificial sweets. In addition, sweeteners can also act differently depending on the user's age and racial genetic characteristics.

Research has shown, for example, artificial sweeteners to have a stronger effect on younger Hispanics. This may be related to the undesirable effects observed in the women mentioned above.

Although there is not yet a complete consensus, the current evidence strongly supports the use of artificial sweeteners in diabetics. However, more studies are still needed to assess their long-term effects on different population groups.

Artificial sweeteners can help diabetics reduce the number of sweeteners in their diet. However, more research is needed to investigate their effects on different population groups.

6. Artificial sweeteners and metabolic syndrome

“Metabolic syndrome” is the term used to refer to a collection of health problems including hypertension, hyperglycemia, abdominal fat, and cholesterol disorders. These conditions increase your risk of chronic illnesses like stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Some studies suggest that people who regularly consume diet soft drinks have a 36% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. However, better quality studies have shown that the drinks mentioned above have no effect on health, or have positive effects.

A recent study was conducted to investigate this problem, in which participants who were both overweight or obese were divided into groups with different beverages, including regular soft drinks and soft drinks. diet, filtered water, and semi-skim milk.

After six months of maintaining the same drink, the diet soft drink group differed significantly from the regular soft drink group.

They weigh 17-21% less, 24-31% less belly fat, 32% lower blood cholesterol, and 10-15% lower blood pressure. Filtered water also has a similar effect when compared to regular soft drinks.

Bottom Line: Artificial sweeteners are less likely to promote metabolic syndrome. Replacing sweeteners drinks with artificially sweetened drinks can actually reduce the risk of several health problems.

7. Artificial sweeteners and gut health

Artificial sweeteners and gut health

The gut microbiota plays an important role in the health of the whole body, and poor gut health is linked to a myriad of problems, including weight gain, difficulty controlling blood sweeteners, and poor gut health metabolic problems, weakened immune system, and poor sleep.

The specific composition as well as the activity level of each person's gut microflora are not the same and appear to be affected by the type of food we eat, including artificial sweeteners.

According to one study, the sweetener saccharin imbalanced the intestinal microflora of four out of seven participants who were not used to it. These four also experienced poor blood sweeteners control five days after consuming the artificial sweetener.

Not stopping there, when their intestinal bacteria were introduced into the body of lab mice, these mice also had a difficult condition to control blood sweeteners.

In contrast, mice that received bacteria from people who had no adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners showed no change in blood glucose control.

Although the results are quite interesting, this is only the first and only study so far that has demonstrated these effects in humans. More research will be needed before we can conclusively conclude the link between artificial sweeteners and gut health.

Artificial sweeteners disrupt the balance of the gut microflora, possibly increasing the risk of disease. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.

Read more: Meal Plan For Lean Weight Gain For You

8. Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk

This issue has sparked controversy since the 1970s, sparked by animal studies showing an increased risk of bladder cancer in mice fed very large amounts. saccharin and cyclamate.

Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk

Fortunately, the metabolism of saccharin in mice and humans is different. Since then, more than 30 human studies have found no link between artificial sweeteners and cancer risk.

One study followed 9,000 people for 13 years and analyzed the number of sweeteners they consume. After calculating, the researchers failed to find an association between artificial sweeteners and the risk of many types of cancer.

A recent review analyzed studies published 11 years earlier, and ultimately found no association.

This finding was also evaluated by the US and European authorities, all of which agreed that artificial sweeteners, when consumed in reasonable amounts, would not increase the risk of cancer.

The only exception is cyclamate, which has been banned from use in the US following the aforementioned rat bladder cancer study. Although no later animal studies showed an association with cancer, cyclamate was never re-licensed.

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Summary: According to the current scientific evidence, artificial sweeteners do not increase the risk of cancer in humans.

9. Artificial sweeteners and oral health

Cavities are created when bacteria in the mouth ferment sweeteners to form acids that destroy tooth enamel. Unlike sweeteners, artificial sweeteners do not react with the bacteria in the mouth, and therefore do not form acids nor deep holes.

Research also shows that sucralose causes less tooth decay than sweeteners. For this reason, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given sucralose-containing products the right to claim that they reduce tooth decay.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also states that all artificial sweeteners, when used in place of sweeteners, neutralize acids and help prevent tooth decay.

Bottom Line: Artificial sweeteners, when used as sweeteners substitutes, reduce the risk of tooth decay.

10. Relationship between aspartame with headaches, depression, and epilepsy

Relationship between aspartame with headaches, depression, and epilepsy

Some artificial sweeteners can cause unpleasant symptoms like headaches, depression, and epilepsy – at least in some people with sensitive backgrounds.

Although most studies have found no association between aspartame and headaches, two studies have noted that some people are more sensitive than others.

The same is true for symptoms of depression caused by aspartame. For example, people suffering from depressive disorders, mania, bipolar disorder … may experience depressive symptoms when using aspartame.

Finally, artificial sweeteners do not increase the risk of epilepsy in humans. However, one study reported an increase in brain activity in children with the form of epilepsy who lack consciousness.

Artificial sweeteners do not cause headaches, depression, or seizures in most people. However, a small number of people may be more sensitive to these symptoms.

11. Safety and side effects

Artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe for human consumption. They are carefully tested and controlled by the US and international agencies to ensure safety when ingested.

Safety and side effects

However, there are a few special subjects that should avoid sweeteners. Aspartame, for example, contains the amino acid phenylalanine, which people with rare metabolic disorders phenylketonuria (phenylketonuria – phenylketo in the urine) cannot metabolize. Therefore these people should avoid aspartame.

Some people are allergic to a group of compounds that include saccharin, called sulfonamides. In these people, saccharin can cause shortness of breath, a skin rash, or diarrhea.

Artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe but should be avoided in people with phenylketonuria and sulfonamide allergies.

The Science Behind Artificial Sweeteners

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According to the available scientific evidence, artificial sweeteners pose very little health risks, even beneficial for weight loss, blood sweeteners control, and oral health. These substances are especially beneficial if used to reduce the number of sweeteners in foods every day.

However, the likelihood of adverse effects may vary from user to user. Some people may experience discomfort or negative effects after consuming artificial sweeteners, even though they are safe and won't harm most people.

After all, science is always changing and finding new discoveries on old topics.

Let's wait and see how the future will determine the true truth of artificial sweeteners. Will they be “heroes” or “criminals” to health? Time will answer!



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Hopefully, the information above has helped you to gain some more knowledge about “do artificial sweeteners cause weight gain”, and bring some small value to you. Please share this article if you feel it is useful. Thanks!

Evie Langford
Evie Langford is a passionate writer with a deep love for sports and bodybuilding. She has spent years honing her knowledge and expertise in the field of fitness, with a particular focus on training for women. Evie is a dedicated athlete who understands the importance of hard work and discipline. She has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and has achieved remarkable success. Her firsthand experience has given her unique insight into the world of fitness and has allowed her to develop a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to achieve peak physical condition. Aside from her athletic pursuits, Evie also has a great passion for writing. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content related to health and fitness. Her articles are not only informative but also entertaining, making them accessible to a broad audience.
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