Will artificial sweeteners make you gain weight?

We finally have some solid evidence that sugar substitutes (like those used in diet coke) will, in fact, make you gain weight.

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says nonnutritive sweeteners are linked with weight gain, a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and a myriad of other health issues. This is according to researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation.

The study looked at 37 different studies dating back to the 80’s which involved more than 400,000 people. It focused on the use of nonnutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and stevioside.

Here’s a bit of a breakdown: In nine of the studies, people who consumed the most nonnutritive sweeteners had a 14% higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes compared to those that consumed the last. In five other studies, those who consumed the largest amount of nonnutritive had a 31% higher risk of having metabolic syndrome (including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels).

What’s the takeaway?

The study found there to be very little evidence to support the argument that sugar substitutes are good for you and can aid in weight loss. In fact, there’s a big indication that they do exactly the opposite by increasing your risk for diabetes, weight gain and metabolic syndrome.

If you are trying to quit sugar, we encourage you to stay as far away as possible from artificial sweeteners and products that promote themselves as “diet” (like diet coke). Despite the potential health risks, artificial sweeteners will also derail your “quitting sugar plans” by keeping your palette sweet and your cravings steady.

Instead of turning to the fake stuff when trying to beat your sugar addiction, opt for the natural sweetness found in whole fruits and vegetables like bananas and apples.

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