Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity

Go to any bookstore (or Amazon) nowadays, and you can find 100 different takes on the diet book. Now, whether these diets are focused on high-fiber, gluten-free, eating for your blood type, or going Paleo is important, but while each of these lifestyles is different and may have merit, they all seem to have coalesced on one thing: the need to go sugar-free (or at least limit sugar intake). And for good reason! More and more science shows how troubling the impact of sugar is on our body. Certainly, the sugar industry has taken note of this, which is why diet sodas and sugar-free this-and-that are populating our shelves. This, seemingly, makes it easy to avoid the excess sugar. But is that the best choice for your health? Let’s take a look.

Download a full transcript of today’s video here.

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  • Jo Spleth

    Do you see the same issue with Stevia?

    • David Perlmutter

      If someone must have a sweetener, stevia is the one I suggest. However, really looking to eliminate sweets and artificially sweetened items as much as possible.

  • Lori Pelez

    Did this study include Stevia? Does it have the same effect?

  • Jami Butler

    I’m curious about stevia too; and also the so-called natural sweeteners like xylitol, erythritol, etc.

  • Harold Beckala

    I use stevia every day…
    My BMI has dropped from 25.5 to 24.5 & my blood chemistries have improved.
    Its only statistically significant to me.

    • Roger Bradford

      I use two small pink spoons of Stevia daily in my coffee. Will this affect my obesity?

      • Harold Beckala

        Wish I knew for sure. I use maybe 5 or 6 packets per day and at the same time I have lost a little weight. However, I started intermittent fasting during that time. Maybe, you should setup your own experiment to see.

  • John Hardwicke

    As a weight loss professional for 21 years, I say we cannot simply look at isolated behaviors in reactive studies for the truth. In my work with obese individuals, almost all my unsuccessful clients would not stop using pink, yellow, and blue sweeteners. However they were all still eating and even binging on real sugar products as the taste of “sweet” is a gateway to addiction or a “medication” attempt for low blood sugar. The study would mean more if we knew how much real sugar and high glycemic carbs these same people were eating in addition to their artificial stuff. As an example, what if the study revealed that most of the weight gainers played bingo? Is bingo therefore a cause of obesity?

  • Rick Olson

    My wife and I are like the two different lines in the graphs. She drinks the artificial sweetened drinks and I don’t. She is heavy and I am not.
    We just discovered a new artificial sweetener made from Monk fruit. 0 carbs & calories. I can’t tell this stuff from sugar. I is absolutely amazing. I have always been an ice cream nut and that’s why I never eat it.
    I got out the old ice cream maker from high on a shelf in the garage a couple weeks ago and made a batch using the monk sugar, eggs and heavy cream. It was so good!
    It takes a lot of work to make a batch of ice cream @ home. You need several hours, lots of ice and rock salt . The way I see it, this lets me have a small bowl of ice cream once in a while. Then its gone and I have to wait until I make some more. I have the necessary discipline.. and my ice cream maker maintains its home high on the shelf.

  • Molly Jones

    Could it be that researchers in such studies are getting cause and effect wrong? I wonder if some people who have a weight gaining tendency for other reasons tend to use more artificial sweeteners to help control their weight. As another viewer commented, they also may tend to overeat other carbs.

    • Philip Domenico, PhD

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’ve been using artificial sweeteners (AS) for decades and have no weight issues (unless I eat carbs in excess). Plus, as a scientist, I have the hardest time accepting arguments about AS as if they were a class of similar compounds. They are not! Some are worse than others. I believe that, if used judiciously, certain AS can be part of a sensible diet.

  • Elsie

    Latest studies show it is the microbiome balance of bacteria that is causing obesity ( caused by wrong foods) – see dr Michael Mosley’s The Clever Guts Diet. We can change our microbiome and thus lose weight.

  • Elizabeth Davila

    Does this include Natural Stevia?

  • Annelise

    I would be interested in knowing, from Dr. Perlmutter, whether it’s ever “too late” for the body to show benefits from not using artificial sweeteners. My concern is that I’ve been drinking diet soda since it came out in the 80’s, not realizing, until the last couple of years, just how bad it really is. Could I have done irreparable damage?

  • eileenfb1948 .

    Binge eating, using food when life feels empty, to stave off boredom, to have somethng to look forward to, etc. Eating very large amounts of veg makes a big difference to apetite and craving food.

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