Artificial Sweeteners: Do they work?

EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- Millions of Americans use artificial sweeteners to lose weight. But do they work? Many say they do but now, the American Heart Association is weighing in.

Colby Lemaster starts his day with an iced coffee; a splash of cream and a couple of packets of Splenda.

"It will taste the same," he said. "It will be just as flavorful and yet a fraction of the calories. Why not do it?"

The American Heart Association says substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar added to food and drinks may help people reach a healthy weight and maintain it. It can also help diabetics control their blood sugar.

"It can be a way of cutting calories," Dr. Judity Wylie-Rosett said. "For every can of diet soda someone consumes, they can save 150 calories, but the Heart Association acknowledges the jury is still out on whether sweeteners are an effective long term way to keep calories and sugars in check."

If you're using artificial sweeteners or products that eliminate sugar experts say that doesn't mean you can eat more.

"Somebody thinks, 'I can have that piece of cream pie cause I put that sweetener in my coffee,'" Wylie-Rosett said.

Lemaster says artificial sweeteners have really helped him cut his calories.

"Every single day I have sweetener in my coffee and probably once a week I'm making or baking something with artificial sweetener," he said.  

He's also cut down on carbohydrates and butter. And he's getting more exercise.

Lifestyle changes that have helped him drop 114 pounds.

The American Heart Association recommends women eat no more than 100 calories per day and men no more than 150 calories per day of added sugars.


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