If you are trying to lose weight then you are likely to be trying to cut as many calories from your diet as possible.
This may mean that you substitute sugar for artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately despite what you may believe, these sweeteners may not aid your weight loss efforts and could do the reverse and cause weight gain to occur.
So how can artificial sweeteners cause weight gain?
Despite readily being advertised as a way to cut calories it has long been known that artificial sweeteners may not be the best option available.
As far back as 1988 a clinical trial (published in the journal Appetite) discovered that rats who had saccharin added to their water supply ate 15% more food than those rats who only drink plain water.
Also in 1988, a study undertaken at Leeds University in the UK (Physiol. Behav., 1988) found similar results with human participants. With those given the artificial sweetener having a bigger appetite.
The researchers of this study concluded that the likely cause of this appetite increase was that once you taste something sweet, but then do not receive the energy boost you would expect, your body starts to crave more food to compensate.
This effect was again shown in a 2008 study at the University of Colorado, who found that artificial sweeteners activated the dopamine transmission system, which causes reward signals to be sent by your brain.
If you wish to lose weight then it is a good idea to cut back on your sugar intake, but replacing it with artificial sweeteners may not be the best idea as the reverse of what you want is likely to occur.
Other known additives that you probably should avoid
As well as artificial sweeteners there are other additives that you will find in some of your foods that are best avoided too. Here are some of them:
1. Emulsifiers; which are often found in foods such as margarine, mayonnaise, ice cream, as well as various other processed and baked goods to help improve the texture and to extend the shelf life of the product.
Tests on mice have shown that those that are fed emulsifiers developed intestinal inflammation, gained weight and gained belly fat.
2. Fat substitutes; it maybe tempting to try a low fat food when trying to lose weight, as you should cut back on your fat intake, right?
Well, not necessarily as your body needs fat to function properly. You just need to eat healthy fats like omega-3s instead.
Research has shown that just like artificial sweeteners, low fat foods cause food cravings to occur, which if you succumb to them will result in weight gain.
3. Interesterified fats; or IEFs for short are now being used instead of trans fats (TFAs) that are used to extend the shelf life of food.
Unfortunately the same kind of issues have been linked to both fats.
Trials have concluded that IEFs can cause an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind, as well as interfering with your glucose metabolism too.
My advice to you would be to always read the labels before you buy the product. Those with artificial sweeteners or artificial additives should be avoided if possible.