Have you ever expected one thing but received something completely different? Like ordering a cheeseburger, but getting a hot dog? As it turns out, there’s a diet food you’re likely eating that you think will help you lose weight, but it may actually be doing the exact opposite.
It’s the artificial sweetener sucralose, and it’s found in a large portion of foods labeled "diet." This additive is used in diet foods because it is 650 times sweeter than sugar but doesn’t have any calories and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
Given that people are becoming increasingly aware of the health implications of high sugar consumption, many dieters turn to sucralose-sweetened products with the hope that they are better for overall health and weight loss.
Despite the implication that diet foods will help you stay trim or even lose weight, sucralose-sweetened products may actually promote fat formation, according to a new study.
George Washington University researchers analyzed the effects of sucralose on stem cells derived from human fat tissue as well as belly fat samples. According to their results, presented at the April ENDO 2017 conference, a sucralose dose comparable to the blood concentration of people who drink around four cans of diet soda daily was enough to increase the expression of genes that are indicators of fat production and inflammation.
When the researchers analyzed samples of belly fat from obese and healthy weight subjects who self-reported that they did or did not consume artificial sweeteners, they found that adults who consumed low-calorie sweeteners showed a significant increase in the transportation of glucose into cells as well as demonstrated an overexpression of genes associated with fat production and sweet taste receptors compared to their counterparts who eschewed the artificial sweetener.
Translation: principal study investigator Dr. Sabyasachi Sen says these findings indicate that low-calorie sweeteners may dysregulate the metabolism in a way that boosts fat formation and that may heighten your risk of metabolism-related diseases, such as obesity and type II diabetes.
Before more research is done to determine just how detrimental artificial sweeteners like sucralose can be for your health, it might be best to cut back on your consumption of them. We’ve come up with a list of popular diet foods you may be consuming that contain the waist-widening ingredient sucralose below.
Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice
Per 8 fl oz: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 40 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein
Quaker Lower Sugar Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal
Per packet (34 g): 120 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 4 g protein
Breyers No Sugar Added Salted Caramel Swirl
Per 1/2 cup (58 g): 90 calories, 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 8 g sugar alcohol), 2 g protein
Yoplait Light Very Vanilla
Per 6 oz container: 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 5 g protein
Quest White Chocolate Raspberry
Per bar (60 g): 200 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (14 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 1 g sugar alcohol), 20 g protein
Per 12 oz can: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
It’s not just food you need to watch out for. To ensure your weight-loss routine is proceeding as planned—and that you’re not inflating your flat tire any more than you want to—don’t miss our exclusive report 25 "Healthy" Habits That Make You Gain Weight.