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Artificial sweeteners don't help people lose weight. New Study?

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Replies

  • OliveGirl128
    OliveGirl128 Posts: 801 Member
    edited July 2017
    I have to wonder if how much artificial sweetener people use could come into play. When I go out with my artificial sweetener using family I use I packet of sugar or none at all in coffee or tea. The rest of the table is dumping four or more sweetener packets in every glass. All those "zero" calories have to add up at some point. I also wonder if they can dull your taste for sweet as well. A relative once made me a bowl of strawberries and poured splenda on them. I couldn't eat them. It was unbearably sweet. Sweeter than candy and I love candy.

    I use splenda in my coffee and I use 1/2 pkt per large cup. The thought of using 4 pkts makes my teeth hurt oiy! Artificial sweetener is so much sweeter than regular sugar, I can't imagine using a lot of it at once.
  • JustRobby1
    JustRobby1 Posts: 674 Member
    edited July 2017
    Noel_57 wrote: »
    Just remember that none of these studies say artificial sweeteners are directly responsible for weight gain. I mean, how can something with zero calories make you fat? These studies all suggest that artificial sweeteners somehow make you hungrier, and that this accounts for the weight gain. Not that this is true for everyone.

    Pretty sure that was debunked.

    I dont think peoples very individual experiences with artificial sweeteners can be debunked... We are not all perfect robots who react exactly the same way to every single substance on the planet.

    That is true I suppose, as far as it goes, you can't "debunk" someone's purely anecdotal claim. Then again, purely anecdotal claims are not science either.

    Unless they offer themselves up to science to be studied, anecdotal is all we've got.

    Just say I started feeling sickly, bloated, headachy and was experiencing intense cravings all of a sudden. Perhaps i just introduced diet soda into my diet, so this would be the obvious place to start. So i quit drinking the soda and all of those side effects disappeared, it would be my anecdotal claim that the diet soda was causing these problems.

    You offering yourself up for study in the above scenario would prove absolutely nothing since virtually nothing scientifically significant can be inferred from a single case unless you happen to be patient zero in some newly discovered zoonotic infectious disease.

    Anecdotes are fine of course. They only become problematic when people attempt to make huge generalizations from them which can not be validated. And let's face a significant reality shall we? Can you name another industry besides fitness and nutrition that has more completely unsubstantiated nonsense in it? I can't think of one.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,917 Member
    edited July 2017
    Noel_57 wrote: »
    Just remember that none of these studies say artificial sweeteners are directly responsible for weight gain. I mean, how can something with zero calories make you fat? These studies all suggest that artificial sweeteners somehow make you hungrier, and that this accounts for the weight gain. Not that this is true for everyone.

    Pretty sure that was debunked.

    I dont think peoples very individual experiences with artificial sweeteners can be debunked... We are not all perfect robots who react exactly the same way to every single substance on the planet.

    That is true I suppose, as far as it goes, you can't "debunk" someone's purely anecdotal claim. Then again, purely anecdotal claims are not science either.

    Unless they offer themselves up to science to be studied, anecdotal is all we've got.

    Just say I started feeling sickly, bloated, headachy and was experiencing intense cravings all of a sudden. Perhaps i just introduced diet soda into my diet, so this would be the obvious place to start. So i quit drinking the soda and all of those side effects disappeared, it would be my anecdotal claim that the diet soda was causing these problems.

    People HAVE offered themselves to science to be studied.
    They found that people who claimed to be sensitive to aspartame got reactions just as much from the placebo.
    That's the thing with anecdotal reports, there's a ton of confounding factors and you attributing it to one specific thing doesn't make it the culprit.
  • JustRobby1
    JustRobby1 Posts: 674 Member
    edited July 2017
    Noel_57 wrote: »
    Just remember that none of these studies say artificial sweeteners are directly responsible for weight gain. I mean, how can something with zero calories make you fat? These studies all suggest that artificial sweeteners somehow make you hungrier, and that this accounts for the weight gain. Not that this is true for everyone.

    Pretty sure that was debunked.

    I dont think peoples very individual experiences with artificial sweeteners can be debunked... We are not all perfect robots who react exactly the same way to every single substance on the planet.

    That is true I suppose, as far as it goes, you can't "debunk" someone's purely anecdotal claim. Then again, purely anecdotal claims are not science either.

    Unless they offer themselves up to science to be studied, anecdotal is all we've got.

    Just say I started feeling sickly, bloated, headachy and was experiencing intense cravings all of a sudden. Perhaps i just introduced diet soda into my diet, so this would be the obvious place to start. So i quit drinking the soda and all of those side effects disappeared, it would be my anecdotal claim that the diet soda was causing these problems.

    People HAVE offered themselves to science to be studied.
    They found that people who claimed to be sensitive to aspartame got reactions just as much from the placebo.
    That's the thing with anecdotal reports, there's a ton of confounding factors and you attributing it to one specific thing doesn't make it the culprit.

    Steven brings up an important point here, as this type of phenomenon is exceedingly common with these types of clinical trials. Enter the Nocebo effect, or reverse placebo effect. It was also observed In one of the largest and most prominent studies ever conducted on "Gluten sensitivity". To make a long story short, people who did not ingest anything containing gluten, but thought they were, STILL reported symptoms. This despite of the fact that there was no biological mechanism of action for their claims
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgh.13705/full

    So are these types of people just "liars"? Perhaps, though in their head they may well actually believe that something is wrong with them. Psychology is not really my area of expertise. However, what I do know is that in the absence of a measurable and quantifiable biological reality which can be directly observed, a researcher must rely on the anecdotal, as was mentioned previously. Obviously, the resultant research is worthless if people are not being candid with you.

    This is important to keep in mind with these types of studies.
  • thatATLgirl
    thatATLgirl Posts: 60 Member
    I say, if you're sitting there craving sugar, it's better to choose the diet soda than the slice of cake.
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    A relative once made me a bowl of strawberries and poured splenda on them. I couldn't eat them. It was unbearably sweet. Sweeter than candy and I love candy.

    This--my mother eats fruit salad for breakfast but adds so much stevia that it's sickeningly sweet (plus that aftertaste!) for me. I just like fruit, I don't need to sweeten it. Then she said "maybe you don't like stevia because your taste buds are used to so much sugar." Sigh. I'm not saying I don't like desserts, but that fruit salad was just tooooo much. Even before I went on this weight loss program I'd scrape most of the frosting off of a cupcake for example, because the sugar was a bit much for me, so I might be a weirdo... But I like to taste my food not get a toothache from the sweet-rush.

    Also, I don't know if this applies to artificial sweeteners, but I know they studied it with fast food salads, and they found that if people *think* they're making a healthy choice, then they tend to indulge in something more caloric later (these were people who weren't counting calories obviously), eg they order the salad, but are more likely to get dessert, or eat a larger meal later.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    A relative once made me a bowl of strawberries and poured splenda on them. I couldn't eat them. It was unbearably sweet. Sweeter than candy and I love candy.



    Also, I don't know if this applies to artificial sweeteners, but I know they studied it with fast food salads, and they found that if people *think* they're making a healthy choice, then they tend to indulge in something more caloric later (these were people who weren't counting calories obviously), eg they order the salad, but are more likely to get dessert, or eat a larger meal later.

    Same mentality as, "I just walked ten blocks instead of taking the bus. I totally earned a large fries." (Note: depending on the length of the blocks, the rate of speed of the walk, the fitness of the individual, and the size of the deficit the individual is trying to maintain—if any—this statement could be true. However, in practice, it seldom is.)
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,973 Member
    Noel_57 wrote: »
    Just remember that none of these studies say artificial sweeteners are directly responsible for weight gain. I mean, how can something with zero calories make you fat? These studies all suggest that artificial sweeteners somehow make you hungrier, and that this accounts for the weight gain. Not that this is true for everyone.

    Pretty sure that was debunked.

    I dont think peoples very individual experiences with artificial sweeteners can be debunked... We are not all perfect robots who react exactly the same way to every single substance on the planet.

    That is true I suppose, as far as it goes, you can't "debunk" someone's purely anecdotal claim. Then again, purely anecdotal claims are not science either.

    Unless they offer themselves up to science to be studied, anecdotal is all we've got.

    Just say I started feeling sickly, bloated, headachy and was experiencing intense cravings all of a sudden. Perhaps i just introduced diet soda into my diet, so this would be the obvious place to start. So i quit drinking the soda and all of those side effects disappeared, it would be my anecdotal claim that the diet soda was causing these problems.

    People HAVE offered themselves to science to be studied.
    They found that people who claimed to be sensitive to aspartame got reactions just as much from the placebo.
    That's the thing with anecdotal reports, there's a ton of confounding factors and you attributing it to one specific thing doesn't make it the culprit.

    Steven brings up an important point here, as this type of phenomenon is exceedingly common with these types of clinical trials. Enter the Nocebo effect, or reverse placebo effect. It was also observed In one of the largest and most prominent studies ever conducted on "Gluten sensitivity". To make a long story short, people who did not ingest anything containing gluten, but thought they were, STILL reported symptoms. This despite of the fact that there was no biological mechanism of action for their claims
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgh.13705/full

    So are these types of people just "liars"? Perhaps, though in their head they may well actually believe that something is wrong with them. Psychology is not really my area of expertise. However, what I do know is that in the absence of a measurable and quantifiable biological reality which can be directly observed, a researcher must rely on the anecdotal, as was mentioned previously. Obviously, the resultant research is worthless if people are not being candid with you.

    This is important to keep in mind with these types of studies.

    The placebo effect is seen even when people are informed they are taking a placebo.

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/placebo-can-work-even-know-placebo-201607079926
  • grinning_chick
    grinning_chick Posts: 765 Member
    The placebo effect is seen even when people are informed they are taking a placebo.

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/placebo-can-work-even-know-placebo-201607079926

    Right off the bat what I noticed in the linked commentary is the huge assumption participants not only knew, but fully comprehended, what a placebo is when told they were being given one. Never assume a layperson understands the same as you do (as an educated scientist) what the medical terminology means. One of the first things I learned post-grad.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,973 Member
    edited July 2017
    The placebo effect is seen even when people are informed they are taking a placebo.

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/placebo-can-work-even-know-placebo-201607079926

    Right off the bat what I noticed in the linked commentary is the huge assumption participants not only knew, but fully comprehended, what a placebo is when told they were being given one. Never assume a layperson understands the same as you do (as an educated scientist) what the medical terminology means. One of the first things I learned post-grad.

    I found the actual study, and it seems they accounted for that.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0015591#s2
    Before randomization and during the screening, the placebo pills were truthfully described as inert or inactive pills, like sugar pills, without any medication in it. Additionally, patients were told that “placebo pills, something like sugar pills, have been shown in rigorous clinical testing to produce significant mind-body self-healing processes.”

    What if the participants were told they were receiving a placebo but also told it would do nothing, or possibly worsen symptoms? I would expect the information that they are receiving a placebo, but that it would have an effect due to the mind/body connection, to significantly alter the results.
  • JustRobby1
    JustRobby1 Posts: 674 Member
    The placebo effect is seen even when people are informed they are taking a placebo.

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/placebo-can-work-even-know-placebo-201607079926

    Right off the bat what I noticed in the linked commentary is the huge assumption participants not only knew, but fully comprehended, what a placebo is when told they were being given one. Never assume a layperson understands the same as you do (as an educated scientist) what the medical terminology means. One of the first things I learned post-grad.

    While I would certianly agree with this, and I have a number of problems with how this research was conducted (the red flags were a flying as I was reading the paper), it does indeed appear that the researchers practiced due diligence in this regard.

    "....The PI explained that the placebo pill was an inactive substance, like a flour pill, that contained no active medication in it. After informed consent, all participants were asked if they had heard of the “placebo effect” and explained in an approximately 15-minute a priori script, adopted from an earlier OLP study"

    Full Text Here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5113234/

    Is it possible some of the participants were too inept to understand this? Maybe, but it is almost one of those situations that would be hard to discern unless you and I were actually there in the room with them as they were conducting the interviews.