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Do Artificial Sweeteners Affect Your Appetite?


By +Carolyn Richardson on Feb 16, 2011 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

By Carolyn Richardson and Mary Hartley, RD

Do you use artificial sweeteners?  Whether it's the little packets for your coffee, a diet soda or sugar-free pudding, chances are you have had your share of sugar subs.  The last thing you want when you're trying to save calories is to feel hungry but, according multiple recent studies, that might be exactly what happens when sugar substitutes play tricks on your brain's ability to tell if you're satisfied - or not.
Feeling Full on Diet Soda

Research published in Diabetes Care discovered that an appetite suppressing hormone, GLP-1, was significantly higher in volunteers who drank a glucose solution along with diet soda compared to those who drank glucose with carbonated water.  The conclusion was that the diet soda drinkers may have become less hungry than their counterparts because of because of GLP-1s appetite suppressing properties.

Sugar Substitutes and Overeating

But wait.  Another study led by Purdue University researchers gave an opposing result for a different artificial sugar. Saccharin, a sweetener found in Sweet N’ Low and Sugar Twin, was used in this test.  Rats fed yogurt sweetened with saccharin ate more total calories and put on more weight than rats in a control group. The scientists thought that it was all in the rat’s little minds.  Apparently, the brain looks for calories when something sweet is consumed, and when it doesn’t get them, the scientists concluded, the brain sends signals that slow down metabolism.  Whether or not the same occurs in humans was not studied, but they say their findings are, “…consistent with recent prospective human clinical studies that have documented increased risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome in individuals consuming beverages sweetened with high-intensity sweeteners."

A Resolution?

Could it be that artificial sugar not only suppresses appetite but also makes you eat more?  Yale researchers say, "Yes."  On the one hand, they argue, “Sweetness uncoupled from caloric content offers a partial, but not complete, activation of the food reward pathways in the brain.” This partial satisfaction may lead a person to eat more.  Also, the sweetness of artificial sugar may trigger sugar cravings and sugar dependence to further fuel a preference for more sugary foods.  The study found, “….strong correlation between a person’s customary intake of a flavor and his preferred intensity for that flavor.”

The Answer Is...

There is still no definitive answer for laboratory animals, let alone humans, to the question of how or if artificial sugar effects appetite and weight, and so the issue is far from settled.  Large scale studies must be conducted on humans, both healthy and diabetic, but the health risks and length of time needed to get answers may be too much to tackle.  What’s more, there are so many substitute sugars out there with wildly variant chemical makeup that putting them all in one no-no bucket seems unwarranted.

The report of 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on non-caloric sweeteners related to energy intake and body weight is this:

Moderate evidence shows that using non-caloric sweeteners will affect energy intake only if they are substituted for higher calorie foods and beverages. A few observational studies reported that individuals who use non-caloric sweeteners are more likely to gain weight or be heavier. This does not mean that noncaloric sweeteners cause weight gain rather that they are more likely to be consumed by overweight and obese individuals.

And so in 2011, that's the way it is.


Your thoughts....

Do you think artificial sugar has anything to do with YOUR appetite?



Comments


Research studies are rarely conclusive. They just show mild coorelation at best. 

 

I personally try to avoid sweet things in general, but I do use sugar subs if there is as well (like if I have to drink a soda, i'll prefer a diet soda)



In a word...no.  Been using it all my life, 54 years.  I really wouldn't like to think of what life would be like with no sweetener and very little sugar.  I like diet cokes and sweet and low in my coffee.  I have reached my goal weight and am doing fairly well at maintaining after losing 50 lbs.  This is after 25 years of being overweight.  I don't think the artificial sweeteners hurt at all.  

Having said this, I don't use Equal or Splenda.  I don't know what they do.  I simply use saccharin based sweeteners except in an occasional Diet Coke.

I don't feel any hungrier after consuming a sweetener.  In fact, having an unsweetened snack helps me stave off hunger for awhile.  



I started dieting about 4 months ago.  I can tell you this without a doubt : When I drink more than 1 diet coke, I will become ravenously hungry in the next 4 hours, often leading to snacking or binge-ing

At first I thought it was just a coincidence (have a get-together, drink too much pop - maybe I just feel peer pressure to eat?), but I have tried it several times since, and, for me at least, diet pop certainly leads to this incredible HUNGER.   I don't just eat - I HAVE to eat.

 



All things in moderation



The caramel in colas and other foods increases appetites. 



I think it's the caffeine that stimulates appetite - Caffeine suppresses appetite at first, but when it wears off, you're hungry. Has to do with insulin and blood sugar



(caffeine as in diet cola)



I think that anytime you fill up with a liquid whether it is sweetened with sugar or sweetener you are going to fill hungry afterwords because there is not any nutritional value in them.  And since it is a chemical, it affects each person differently.  I know that splenda gives me a terrible headache and equal makes my mouth taste like metal.  I use aguave  in my coffee because I am cutting back the sugar.  It doesn't jack my blood sugar up and doesn't make my coffee taste funny like honey or sweeteners. 

I think it is just as someone else posted on her, "All things in moderation".



Remember that aspartame is really bad for you.



I don't watch what I eat, I drink a lot of beer, I eat tons of pasta...and I never use artificial sugars. I avoid products with artificial sugars (especially aspartame) and I always try to use any natural products. The body needs real sugar to operate properly. I think anybody who switched from real sugar to fake, then lost weight, probably also changed their diet and started to exercise. By the way, Im a 27 year old office worker who weighs 175lbs



Comment Removed

I've seen studies claiming a correlation between certain artificial sweeteners with brain damage, enlarged livers, shrunken thymus glands, and cancer.  Of course correlation does not imply causation and the studies could be faulty or misrepresenting facts, but I for one stick strictly to whole foods. After all, if I'm gonna put something in my body unless I know it's 100% safe before hand, not the other way around.



Wow, I must seem pretty retarded after that last post, but I promise I don't have brain damage, just extremely tired=)



When you drink artificial sweetener it will cause your body to release insulin. Insulin must be available to store fat. You will not burn fat when you release insulin. Insulin is the fat hormone.



It's fascinating how skeptical these commenters are about "research" on the one hand, but how gullible they are on the other, with flat statements (not at all supported by facts) like "when you drink artificial sweetener it will cause your body to release insulin." If you don't like "research," how are you going to decide whose claims are true, and whose are false? It seems to me that research is the only way we can make any sense out of nutrition, especially man-made innovations like high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.



I am diabetic so my thought was to use Splend and drink diet sodas. One thing I realized is that If I have the diet soda around I can drink a 2 liter bottle a day easily. so I eally do nto keep a lot of it around the house.  I have not monitored my appetite but I would like to do my own experiment. I am thinking that there hs to be something to fooling your body by substituting sugar.

 

Paul



Original Post by: robozilla

(caffeine as in diet cola)


For me, it's DEFINITELY not caffeine.  I can (and do) drink coffee pretty regularly.  I have two cups in the morning, and usually a few cups in the afternoon, sometimes I even drink it in the evening.  I use milk/sugar in my coffee, and I have absolutely no issues with my appetite after coffee.  

After a few diet cokes though, I get seriously RAVENOUS.. like I HAVE to eat.  It's not really a pleasant feeling, to be honest.  



I need my Splenda!!!!! - LOL - jajaja, please do not take it away from me.... jajaja...

When I need something sweet, I really find myself satisfied with my coffee and a bowl of yogurt, both sweetened with Splenda...



I need my Splenda!!!!! - LOL - jajaja, please do not take it away from me.... jajaja...

When I need something sweet, I really find myself satisfied with my coffee and a bowl of yogurt, both sweetened with Splenda...



I don't use many artificial sweeteners.  I do I use Stevia!



A few years ago, I stopped using Saccharin, a sweetener found in Sweet N’ Low and Sugar Twin. The fear of cancer causing products has made me more conscious of the products that I purchase at the food stores. My parents died from cancer and it's important to be aware of other chemicals elsewhere in consumer products. For example, red dye in meat, candy, and drinks (soda pop). Even fruit juice for kids contain dye and possibly artificial sweetner. I substituted artificial sweetner with products like Stevia and TruVia that are natural sweetner from plants. However, they are more expensive. It certainly outweighs the risk of developing cancer. Consuming anti-oxidants drinks (fruit, blueberries, green tea, pomegranette, pure grape juice and others) are good for you and can potentially protect you from the radical agents that produces cancer cells in your body.



I am NOT a laboratory rat.



This is really simple, its business.

I've noticed that I can drink one regular sweetened softdrink and I'm satisfied whereas, if I drink a diet soft drink, I am not satisfied with one and tend to drink several more.

My theory is that diet softdrinks contain something that stimulates appetite thus driving the demand for more diet soft drinks.  Its kind of like the way cigarettes are formulated, to sell more cigarettes...

Companies don't really aren't concerned about the health effects, they are interested in profits.



I have a theory - no facts - no research - just opinion - so don't bother lecturing.

I think expecting soda to contain sugar is a conditioned response.  When I was very young, my parents did not buy sodas, so I was not accustomed to having high sugar sodas.  When they did start buying diet code and diet pepse were readily available.  So, I have always drank diet sodas.  

I don't notice an impact on my appetite, because I do not associate soda with sugar.  My drug of coice is Diet Coke, specifically because it does not taste sweet.  I do not care as much for diet Pepsi and can't stand Coke Zero and Pepsi Max because they taste like syrup due to the sweetness.

I know the chemicals are not good for me and I go through periods where I abstain and drink water.   So, again don't bother lecturing, because my caffeine addiction, like nicotine addiction, doesn't care about the facts. 



I don't have a problem with being hungry. In fact, I love it! I love it so much I just skip lunch sometimes because hunger feels so good. So I never get why something making you hungry is bad.



I drink maybe one diet coke or two a week nothing to get all up in arms about. However I have stopped using Sweet-in-low. I have Fibromayalgia I read an article that said Sweet-in-low could cause you to have significant muscle pain. I switched to Splenda in my coffee I make sure the diet products I use if sweetened have Splenda IE: ice cream, yogurt, cereal, diet drinks. I have noticed a significant change in my pain it is not as chronic as before I have done this for more than six months. So I am a true believer in Splenda I have tried others but this is my choice for my condition. I have no Ill affects from diet coke but I don't drink enough for it to matter.



Fake sugars are terrible for you.  Period.  Just use the real thing in moderation.



Original Post by: christes

This is really simple, its business.

I've noticed that I can drink one regular sweetened softdrink and I'm satisfied whereas, if I drink a diet soft drink, I am not satisfied with one and tend to drink several more.

My theory is that diet softdrinks contain something that stimulates appetite thus driving the demand for more diet soft drinks.  Its kind of like the way cigarettes are formulated, to sell more cigarettes...

Companies don't really aren't concerned about the health effects, they are interested in profits.


If this is true, that companies put something in their product to make you want more, then why would Coca-Cola do this only to their diet drinks? Why would they care if you drink diet cola or regular cola? As long as you are buying their product over say Pepsi. This logic does not make sense.

I think every BODY reacts differently and what makes you hungry may sastify me, and vice versa. What's more important is to be aware of these studies and to pay attention to your own body to figure out how it will react to what you put in it.



Original Post by: zelda_of_arel

I don't have a problem with being hungry. In fact, I love it! I love it so much I just skip lunch sometimes because hunger feels so good. So I never get why something making you hungry is bad.


you are bizzare :-)



And btw, i cannot spell Undecided

bizarre



Sugar subs tell your body there is sugar - turn on the insulin pump - then the insulin gets there and there is nothing for it so the cravings start. 

Besides the fact the stuff is poison. 

 



nope, don't buy it. if anything, artificial sweetners help me shake OFF sugar craving - especially when I use with for a cocoa drink or pudding that I make at home. No cravings, but a delightful and moderate calorie chocolate something that is great for satiety.

Bulk satisfied my 'hungry' feelings - so I'm eating more raw fruits and veggies, getting whole grains in everywhere I can, etc. Helps a lot.

Laura Dolson on About.com has a lot of useful nutritional and practical info on the various sweetners. Some actually are good for us. ;)



Lynn, you are describing a different situation than diet pop.  Cocoa and Pudding have TONS of calories - good ones!  The sugar supplements (or sweetener in your case) are just making it sweeter.  

In the case of pop, there is the sweetener, with absolutely no calories behind it. 

For example, I can get a coffee with milk and sweetener, and it doesn't make me crave, but the diet coke - it DOES make me crave.   It's just a different situation.



I find all the studies about sugar and artificial sweeteners facinating but even more facinating is which parts of which studies people choose to believe.  I think more than anything, people choose to believe the things that are convenient for them to embrace.  I think it's human nature and I am not immune to this.  I also think the researchers start out to prove a point and they can work the statistics to lean toward the point that they wanted to make.  You can make one set of circumstances and statistics look like several things depending on the things you choose to include or leave out.  It happens in all sorts of statistical or scientific reporting. 

I personally don't know what to believe.  I have to think that anything artificial is probably not particularly good for you and I have learned from experience large quantities of sugar are very bad for you.  I'm guessing that at least 50 pounds of my current extremely high weight comes from drinking soda!  My goal is to just give up on drinking any soda, diet or otherwise.  Water is good for you, that is a proven fact so I think that's a great alternative :-)



The only thing I 'eat' with sugar substitute in it is Sugar-free gum, and That's because I don't want my teeth to rot, and I don't like the texture of gum with sugar in it.

Other then that I try not to eat anything with sugar substitute in it. I am not diabetic so there is no reason for me to use Splenda or anything like that. I don't think anyone without a health problem like diabetes should use sugar substitutes. Instead they should just cut down on their sugar intake.

The less sugar you eat the less sugar you crave, and eventually your body gets accustomed to not having sugar, so that when you do eat sugary foods they taste too sweet.



I was a big diet-soda drinker, About three months ago, I quit drinking pop altogether.  If I really, really want one, I drink an all-natural soda, (like sierra mist natural, or the pepsi made with real sugar) Within a week of quitting the diet stuff, I noticed a huge decrease in my cravings.  Drinking a diet pop had immediately made me crave something crunchy and salty... and then to balance THAT out, I would crave something sweet... Since I quit consuming artificial sweeteners (and cut out ANYTHING that has High Fructose Corn Syrup) I've lost nearly 10 pounds, and am still eating basically whatever I want. 

When I quit the artificial stuff, I had headaches regularly for nearly a week, which I chalk up to a drug-like withdrawal, as headaches are unusual for me.  I am so glad I got myself off the soda-pop habit, especially the diet stuff.... Think about all that chemical garbage your body and liver have to filter through your system!!!

 



I find, for myself, that I can't stand the aftertaste of artificial sweeteners. Even if no one says that there is the fake stuff in my food or beverage, I can taste it and I really can't stomach it. On the other hand, I can't eat a lot of sugar at any one time. I just cut back on the real stuff. As it has been stated before, anything in moderation. I call candy and soda "sugar bombs". I don't like a lot of sugar, but I cannot stand the artificial stuff. I have a feeling that not everyone can taste what I taste with the artificial sweeteners. I may be predisposed to tasting some chemical component to those sorts of things. I would just say that each person needs to take into consideration what works best for them.



I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 2 years ago. I had to change my lifestyle so I could be healthy again. I used to hate artificial sweeteners because of the taste. But Splenda tastes great to me and has helped to ease my moving away from sugar.

I'm also an avid Cook and Baker so I've had to learn how to redo my favorite foods to be healthier. What I realized about my body is that when I'm craving something sweet in a fierce way, it actually means that I haven't eaten enough vegetables with the nutrients it needs. But for some reason my mind says, oh -you want chocolate, Let's eat a snickers bar and then, I get sick from it and go into a sugar coma. I've noticed that real sugar affects me right away. If I want to eat brownie, I'd have to be on the treadmill as soon as I'd finished licking my fingers.

I started baking with splenda, whole wheat flour and applesauce for a healthier but tasty alternative. I've lost 30 lbs and have maintained it for a year. I have 17 lbs more to go and it's slow but steady as it's a lifestyle change for me and not a diet.

By the way, I drink one or two diet sodas a day. It's really my big vice as I don't drink alcohol or smoke. However, I also drinks 10 to 12 glasses of water to counteract all the sodium that are in most foods.

 

 



Yes! I stopped using artificialy sweetned anything after years of trying to make them work for me instead of fitting the foods I crave into my calorie plan. Most sweeteners gave me a headache and do not solve my love of sweets.

I have successfully lwered my weight now for 5 years and it has stayed off by calorie counting and mild excersize but i have to say i am very attentive to my eating plan and find the most nutrifying foods possible, artificial sweetened food is not on my list.



There is some in vitro evidence (rat tissue in a test tube) that some, but not all artificial sweeteners can induce insulin release.Aspartame, in this study, did not cause insulin release.

Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Insulin Release and Cationic Fluxes in Rat Pancreatic Islets Willy J. Malaissea, , Anne Vanonderbergena, Karim Louchamia, Hassan Jijaklia and Francine Malaisse-Lagaea In vitro studies may indicate further research is warranted, but having the tissue removed from the body causes a lot of pertubations to a complex system like the pancreas. In addition, the rat is not necessarily a good pancreatic model for humans. A review of scientific literature by A G Renwick in Physiology and Behavior (Volume 55, Issue 1, January 1994, Pages 139-143) came to the following conclusion: . . . although intense sweeteners have been shown to increase hunger ratings in some studies in humans, this has not been a consistent and reproducible observation. Any slight effect on perceived hunger has not been translated into an increase in food ingestion or effects on blood concentrations of insulin or glucose. Studies on the covert substitution of caloric sweeteners by intense sweeteners have shown either a decrease or no change in body weight. The published database does not support the concept that the consumption of intense sweeteners results in a paradoxical increase in calorie intake and body weight. 


I love my diet coke and sugar free gum.   I try to only have one diet coke a day, but I chew gum like it is going out of style.  I doubt the fake sugar is doing anything good for me, but I don't think it effects my hunger.  I don't want my children to have it, so I drink my diet coke while they are at school.  They do chew the sugar free gum and I justify that to myself by saying it is good for their teeth.  My mom is diabetic, so relies on the fake sugars.  She is addicted to sweet tea.  My sister and I have tried to get her to cut down, but she really loves it.  My sister won't eat any fake sugar.  I guess I am torn on the subject and not willing to give up my diet coke and sugar free gum.



I do not agree with the article.   It is all about portion control.  I drink only diet caffiene pop.  A 2 liter last me 4 days.  Most of day drink green tea.  Drinking the pop does not increase my appetite any more than usual.  It is all about portion control and I am stickler that eating something every 3 hours it the way to go.  Ones has to keep theire metabolism going or it will slow down.  I lost 93 pounds in a year doing this along with some exercise and watching my caloirie intake.   I learned that getting in shape does not take much.  Just one small change at time.  I however cannot phantom why they will not post my success story on this site.  Maybe they just can only post one a week.  Who knows.  Okay good luck everyone. 



We I was younger-  my family only bought diet soda.  The reason was because the sugar in regular soda was the #1 cause of cavaties at the time.  We only had it on special occasions. We drank milk or water.  In the summertime, we had suntea and kool-aid-  it was sweetened with saccarhin (not sure of that spelling) tablets.  Anyhow, it was never for weight issues-

My own children are very similar.  My daughter will drink soda only if it is diet-  to save her teeth.  My son however will never drink soda because he does not care for the carbonation.

Studies and research are great!!  They can maybe help identify triggers that may contribute to certain habits.  If this study does not reflect findings in your life, move along.



So the point of this article is....nothing.  no facts, no help, no conclusions.  I'd also like to add that the clear sky appears blue, and it's being studied why it seems relatively cooler at night than in the day.... If you believe that less calories consumed than expended equals weight loss, than diet sweetners are an awesome gift.  If you're still thirstly after one diet pop, then go ahead and drink ten! 10X0 = 0.  Splenda is awesome.  Truvia tastes like crap. If you're worried about health effects, research what's in your tap water, or restaurant food, or canned food. ppm of rat poo is allowed.. And, you have to eat a dumpster of sweetner a day to equal what they feed rats, so just keep it to 1/2  a dumpster and you should be OK.  Sorry if I seem crabby - WAY too much diet soda this morning.... Good luck to all weight losers!

 



Original Post by: mikedowd99

I don't watch what I eat, I drink a lot of beer, I eat tons of pasta...and I never use artificial sugars. I avoid products with artificial sugars (especially aspartame) and I always try to use any natural products. The body needs real sugar to operate properly. I think anybody who switched from real sugar to fake, then lost weight, probably also changed their diet and started to exercise. By the way, Im a 27 year old office worker who weighs 175lbs


WOW!  Then how did you find your way to this website???



I use sweet n low or splenda.  I think it is much sweeter than sugar.

I am trying to stop using it.  It doesn't make me more hungry, but coffee seems to taste better than with sugar.

Stevia is not an artificial sweetner and more natural for your body, but I hate the taste. 



Aspartame is the devil.



My husband drank on average about a half galleon a day of sugared Coca-Cola all his life and died at age 45 of a freakish cancer that had invaded over his abdomen.

Artificial and so called "natural" sweeteners taste horrible to me, so I just don't have any of it with an occasional regular soda. Personally, it makes me feel hungry. I think that is by design.

None of this stuff is good for you, and certainly, drinking galleons is definitely a real and severe health hazzard.

Will we ever hear about it? No. The companies want us to drink their product exclusively.

Remember water? Even unsweetened tea?



I try to get my sugar fixes from natural sources like fruit.  I have found that Equal (aspartame) triggers binge eating for me, so I avoid that.  I have Splenda on hand, but rarely use it.  I always taste food or drink first and then determine if I want more sweetness.  I have found that I like a lot of teas just by themselves ( I tend to be a coffee drinker) simply by tasting them first! 



I am diabetic therefore I cannot use the real thing in moderation.

 

I wished they would simply choose Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose and Stevia which are the primary artificial/replacement sweetners and do a full scale study on these first and foremost than just say that theres too many artificial sweetners to do a full scale study. I think that is very lame and careless.

I understand that there are other sweetners but at least check into the ones we know of the most or are commonly used.

 

 



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