Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?

There have been numerous studies done over the years about the negative health effects of sugar. Artificial sweeteners, which contain few or zero calories, are commonly used as a way to enjoy sweet foods without the negative effects of sugar. But these sweeteners come with some controversy.

According to Healthline, some experts are concerned that artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain. Part of the concern comes from the fact that there have not been many long-term studies conducted on these sugar substitutes. However, there is not enough current evidence to conclude that they cause weight gain. In fact, artificial sweeteners may lead to weight loss when used as a substitute for calorie-heavy natural sugar. But because there is limited scientific evidence on artificial sweeteners, it is still a good idea to limit them in your diet. If you are unsure about the safety of some sweeteners, speak to your doctor about your health needs. 

Potential health risks of artificial sweeteners

Although they probably won't cause weight gain, some experts believe you should still be cautious with artificial sweeteners. Both the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have warned against a diet high in artificial sweeteners (via Harvard Health Publishing). There are five different types that have been approved by the FDA: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. However, FDA-approved doesn't necessarily mean healthy.

People who switch to sugar-free substitutes may feel like they can eat more foods because they are cutting out sugar calories. However, this can easily lead to overeating and weight gain in the long run, which offsets any potential benefits of artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners can also change the flavors of foods and cause you to crave more sweets over time, which again can lead to weight gain. It's smart to enjoy both natural sugars and artificial sweeteners in moderation.