It is widely believed by the public that replacing sugars with artificial sweeteners will help reduce calorie (energy) intake and aid weight loss. As a result sales of foods and drinks sweetened with artificially sweeteners are at an all time high, as are rates of overweight and obesity. However, while appropriate use of artificial sweeteners may help control energy intake and bodyweight in the short-term, little is known about the long-term impact of artificial sweetener consumption on energy intake and body weight.
A lower intake of energy relative to energy expenditure promotes weight loss. Therefore, it would make sense that substituting foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners for those with sugar, weight loss would follow. However, the science is not as straight forward as it may seem: the body is capable of sensing and adapting to a reduced energy intake, and as a result people may compensate for this by eating more later.
Professor David Benton, of the University of Wales, Swansea, conducted a review of the scientific evidence looking at the effect of artificial sweeteners in weight control and energy intake. Publishing his findings in Nutrition Research Reviews*, Professor Benton concluded that at present the scientific evidence suggests there is a lack of convincing evidence to draw firm conclusions on the role of artificial sweeteners on long-term energy intake and bodyweight regulation. Current evidence suggests that, although artificial sweeteners may be helpful in the short-term, there is little long-term benefit of in people of normal, body weight.
Hannah Theobald | alfa
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