Why should I avoid artificial sweeteners if I'm trying to lose weight?

Samantha Heller, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Artificial sweeteners seem like a good idea, but too much of them can affect your sense of taste. Learn more about the downsides of fake sweeteners in this video featuring registered dietitian Samantha Heller.

Keri Peterson, MD
Internal Medicine

Sugar-free cookies and other snacks with artificial sweeteners may seem like the perfect choice when you're trying to lose weight, but they can actually sabotage your weight loss efforts. To find out why, watch this video featuring internal medicine specialist Dr. Keri Peterson.

Tim Ferriss
Even with no calories, most artificial and natural sugar substitutes provoke increased insulin release, though aspartame (Nutrasweet) shows surprisingly little effect on insulin. Not that this is a free license to overconsume Nutrasweet: it's often paired with acesulfame-K, which has a host of negative health effects. Both low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners have been associated with weight gain.

"All-natural" sweeteners are, based on the role of fructose in metabolic disorders, arguably worse for you than even high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So-called "sugar-free" health foods are full of sweeteners such as "concentrated apple and pear juices," which are two-thirds fructose, and the latest and greatest saviors are even worse. Raw agave nectar, for example, is as high as 90% fructose and shows no better antioxidant content than refined sugar or HFCS.

Skip the sweeteners whenever possible. If it's really sweet, it probably spikes insulin or screws up your metabolism. Experiment with spices and extracts like cinnamon and vanilla instead.
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

More About this Book

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Thinner, bigger, faster, stronger... which 150 pages will you read?Is it possible to: Reach your genetic potential in 6 months? Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours? Lose more fat...

Continue Learning about Artificial Sweeteners

How Artificial Sweeteners Fake Out Your Body
How Artificial Sweeteners Fake Out Your Body
In American football, there’s a “fake” happening on almost every play. Whether it’s a head fake, a running fake, or a passing fake, the idea is to tri...
Read More
Is agave syrup safe and healthy?
Ms. Ashley Koff, RDMs. Ashley Koff, RD
When it comes to assessing the benefits/potential risks of agave syrup there are two key issues ...
More Answers
What are some pros and cons of using non-sugar sweeteners?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
There's no clear-cut data on which alternative sweeteners work most effectively, but here's how I ra...
More Answers
Why Should I Avoid Artificial Sweeteners?
Why Should I Avoid Artificial Sweeteners?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.