When someone diets, it is likely that the first thing you think about is to reduce and / or replace your sugar intake.
Sugar has been for decades demonizedO because it is strongly related to diseases as serious (and prolonged) as obesity, type 2 diabetes, various heart problems and many other conditions.
And while fame for sugar (sucrose, in essence) has declined, other options like saccharin and other sugar-free sweeteners have begun to proliferate.
Your consumption skyrocketed in the United States, the country with the highest percentage of obese people in the world, according to the OECD.
According to the results of a national survey on sweetener consumption published by the Center for Public Health Studies in Washington between 1999 and 2012, the use of sweeteners had been increased by 54% between the adult population and up to 200% among children in just 13 years.
But the impact that sugar sweeteners have on our health, and especially on weight loss, has always been a matter of doubt.
No proven benefits
The World Health Organization is preparing a new guide on unsweetened sweeteners that should be ready by the end of the year. So he hired an international team of scientists to review all the medical literature on the effects of sweeteners.
In total, 56 investigations were reviewed and the conclusion is that there is no evidence that sweeteners are better than sugar.
"Science has shown that sugar substitutes they really do not help much and that those who consume them in the long run end up with less healthy outcomes than people who do not use them, "said Susan Swithers, a researcher at Purdue University who participated in the study.
In fact, only a few of the 56 studies reviewed found that some adults who consumed sweeteners lost an average of 1.3 kg, but the scientists themselves also warn that the methodology, duration, and measurement of these experiences did not allow drawing conclusions.
In the case of children, however, they observed that in some cases they even gained body mass.
The opposite effect
Some of the studies showed that people who consumed sweeteners had an increased appetite. This is due, scientists explain, for possible imbalanceIthose in microbiotics (gut bacteria).
This means that sweeteners can grow less healthy species of bacteria in our digestive system, we do not regulate well the relationship between appetite and satiety. You can also accustom our body to demand sweet tastes.
Another reason why sweeteners can result in weight gain, they point out, is because people who take sweeteners believe they can abuse other foods because they are already making an effort to eliminate sugar from their diet.
Researchers say more studies and analysis should be done on the effects of sweeteners and remember that the best substitutes for sugar are water and non-sugary meals.
The International Sweeteners Association highlighted the part of the study that reflects weight loss in some adults and criticized that the review commissioned by the WHO did not include some research on the relationship between soft drink consumption and weight loss in young people.