3 myths about artificial sweeteners

3 Myths about Artificial Sweeteners

With the help of Virtua registered dietitian Charlotte Genetta, we’re debunking three widely-spread artificial sweetener “truths."

Myth: Drinking diet soda helps you lose weight.

Fact: Zero calories is a good thing, right? Well, maybe not. In fact, drinking diet soda may actually cause weight gain.

While this is still being researched, some believe that diet soda causes your brain to crave calories, leaving you eating more instead of less.

There can also be a “halo effect.” Many people think that drinking diet soda leaves room to eat more. “The calories you save by drinking diet soda don’t counter-balance a high-calorie meal,” Genetta says.

Myth: Artificial sweeteners cause cancer.

Fact: “Research doesn’t show that artificial sweeteners cause cancer; it’s a misconception people have because it’s a chemical,” Genetta says.

However, you should know that some people can be very sensitive to artificial sugars. Aspartame and sucralose have been known to trigger migraines and aggravate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Myth: Artificial sweeteners are 100% safe.

Fact: Just because there’s no cancer connection doesn’t mean they’re 100% safe.

Genetta points out that when diet soda is warehoused, it may not be refrigerated. Under warm conditions, aspartame decomposes and formaldehyde forms.

In addition, if you’re drinking canned soda, the cans may be lined with Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been known to mimic the hormone estrogen and interfere with nervous and reproductive system development.

To avoid BPA, Genetta recommends buying your soda in a bottle. Look for the number 1 or 2 on the bottom of the bottle to be sure you’re not consuming BPA.

While Genetta shares these points so that you’re fully informed, please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that small amounts of formaldehyde and BPA can be consumed without harming your health.

Updated February 15, 2017

You May Also Like

Virtua Nutrition and Healthy Living Services

Healthy Eating

Virtua provides individualized nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian who will help you learn how to make healthy food choices and develop a strategy that fits your lifestyle.

Read More
hollys kitchen: cooking with cocoa

Holly's Kitchen: Cooking with Cocoa

Dark chocolate's healthy, right? Sure - but cocoa powder packs the healthiest punch. A Virtua registered dietitian shows you how you can add it to everything from salad to steak.

Watch Video
holiday sweets

Holly's Kitchen: 4 Healthy Swaps for a Sweet Holiday

Do you love holiday desserts and hate the thought of giving them up for a diet? You can indulge in holiday sweets with a few smart swaps.

Watch Video