Weight Loss Myth #4

Hopefully you are learning more and more each week as we debunk the weight-loss myths that we have all heard over and over again! Here is myth number 4. The 5th and final installment in this series will be published in our monthly newsletter along with our updates, news, and recipe of the month. If you haven’t already signed up for the newsletter, now is the time to do so! There is a link to sign up on our website homepage.

Myth #4: Calorie-free sweeteners will help you lose weight:  Oh, how we all wish this were true.  I wish it were true. I would love to have my cake and eat it too – literally and figuratively!  The truth is that we don’t have a single shred of evidence that these substances cause weight loss.  If one of the big food companies could prove it, they could make billions upon billions of dollars. Unfortunately, the data never seems to work out for them.  So, to keep justifying the existence of these chemicals, big food focuses on the calorie balance hypothesis. Since these sweeteners don’t technically have any calories when they are burned in a lab, they fit into the calories-in, calories-out personal responsibility framework beautifully.  According to that (erroneous) theory, you can have as much as you want and it won’t count. Unfortunately, several large scale studies have actually found that consumption of sweeteners is actually correlated with increased weight gain – as well as an increased risk of diabetes. Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may seem like a logical way to help with weight loss, it isn’t the solution.  Switching to water or unsweetened ice tea is a much better option!

And yes, this category includes Stevia and Truvia. They often get a free pass when we talk about artificial sweeteners since they technically come from a plant. But don’t let that fool you. Cocaine and heroin both come from plants too! Swerve and other sugar alcohols also fall under the category of calorie-free sweeteners. Although they don’t provoke as much of a glycemic response as sugars, they provoke a pretty decent insulin response. And, the insulin response is way more important than the glucose response when we are talking about health, wellness and weight loss!

Keep learning. Knowlege is power. And, as always…

be strong – be healthy – be happy

Courtney Younglove, M.D.