Should I eat sugar free products for weight loss?

Eating sugar-free products is not a requirement in order to lose weight. I know many do, but it is not necessary and I did not in order to achieve my weight loss goals. 

Most importantly weight loss comes down to calorie management (calories in versus calories out).  There are a million different ways and diets and workout routines to accomplish this but it comes back to calories in versus calories out.

Too many people get too radical with zero sugar or zero fat and start restricting food too much.  The human behavior and mind do not do well with too much restriction or being out of balance.  Studies show that less than 10% of people are naturally thin and only 25% can manage their weight efficiently.  That leaves 65% of people that struggle with their weight and that is evidence enough that our system is broken and our advice is poor.

Sugar is not the problem, fat is not the problem.  Eating nutrient dense foods vs calorie dense foods are certainly important but sugar in your diet will not make you fat.  Manage your calories, eat less and move more and log your food and watch what happens to your body.  You will be more aware of what you are doing and you will find that you can live a normal, happy life without restricting what you eat as long as you monitor your calories and how much activity you do.

Unless you are diabetic, sugar-free products can actually be detrimental to a diet because in a lot of cases they still contain a lot of calories.  The key to weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn.  1 lb is equivalent to 3500 calories.  If you want to lose the recommended 1 lb per week, you would want to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day.  The best way to do this is by counting calories, portion control, and exercising 20 to 30 minutes per day.  One or two days should be light workout days, but these should not be back-to-back. 

Bottomline, make sure you get up and move every day to help burn off the extra calories, pay close attention to portion sizes and you will see results.  For excellent information on portion control and how you should be eating, check out the new Government guidelines at 

Lisa Lillien
Nutrition & Dietetics

Can just a spoonful of, say, sucralose help the sugarfree food go down -- and peel off the pounds? Find out what "Hungry Girl" author Lisa Lillien has to say about sugar substitutes in this video.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

It’s not about whether you consume sugar filled or sugar free products. Sometimes you can over eat the sugar free products, which can be just as bad for your body as sugar filled products. The main way to lose weight and stay healthy is to eat right (meaning a well-balanced diet between lean protein, fiber rich carbohydrates and healthy fats) and exercise.

If you’re having trouble sticking to a healthy diet, try logging what you’re eating and your workout. You’ll start seeing what you’re eating, how much and when; all of which will help you realize when you are actually hungry and when you’re just looking for something to munch on.

Judith Mabel
Nutrition & Dietetics
Artificially sweetened soft drinks are actually associated with weight gain! That's right, it was shown in studies that people who drink diet sodas gain significant weight over time, whereas people who don't drink them gain very little. Maybe it's a psychological crutch (well I'm drinking diet soda so I guess I can eat XXX). Or maybe it is physical - the brain thinks the body is getting food and when no food is delivered the cravings increase. I recommend eating food without the sugar or sugar substitutes, and then work on your food choices so you get to enjoy foods you really like.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Switching to sugar-free varieties of foods and beverages from those that are high in sugar can help you lose weight. For example, if you usually drink one can of regular soda per day, downing a sugar-free version instead can save you about 50,000 calories per year. That translates to roughly 14 pounds of body weight.

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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.