For years, I have thought that artificial sweeteners are likely fairly harmless, and less likely to cause weight gain than table sugar, thus a useful tool in combatting obesity. I still believe that is probably true.
However, I have had the discussion many times with friends about how diet drinks without sugar seem to cause a little weight gain, compared to tea or coffee without sugar. Not nearly the kind of weight gain one sees with a fully sugared soda - it's more subtle than that - but I've wondered for a few years if there might be a dysmetabolic effect that these sweeteners are having.
This poses a big dilemma for those of us trying to lose (or not gain) excess belly fat, if it's true. Everything "diet" is, of course, loaded with artificial sweeteners.
But why would artificial sweeteners cause fat gain and metabolic dysfunction if they have absolutely no calories?
This article that a friend shared with me last night peaked my interest:
Low Calorie Sweeteners May Allow More Glucose to Enter
Essentially, there are many metabolic pathways at a cellular level, by which these sweeteners may be opening the gate for glucose to enter the fat cell and be converted into fat. (Table sugar = glucose plus fructose)
4/19/17 Debra Ravasia