As a fitness instructor I am constantly “observing” what people are eating, drinking, and asking myself how much exercise they really accumulate in a day. It’s no fun hanging out with me as I am sure I get on my family and friends nerves. I do love to people watch; it makes me feel so much better about myself.
Why do overweight people drink diet soda? My curiosity comes from a purely scientific place because artificial sweeteners have been getting bad press lately. Are people really trying to cut calories any place they can or more troubling is artificial sweeteners exacerbating their weight problem?
The truth may lie in a study recently published in the current issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The authors, Richard D Mattes of Purdue University and Barry M Pomkinof the University of North Carolina, reviewed 224 professional studies of the effects of artificial sweeteners on appetite, food intake, and weight. The results of the study concluded that artificial sweeteners can aid in weight loss only if people do not overcompensate by eating higher calorie food. There is no substitute for making smart food choices, people get into trouble when they think artificial sweeteners make up for poor food choices. I think it is safe to say, the problem with artificial sweetener is behavioral and not biological!