If you’re trying to slim down, switching from sugar to an artificial sweetener could actually lead to overeating.
In a study, lab animals fed saccharin-sweetened yogurt consumed more calories — and packed on more pounds — than the animals that ate the treat with sugar added. Like humans, animals are conditioned to expect lots of calories from sweet-tasting foods. But it seems that no-calorie substitutes may put the brain and the body at odds. The brain says, “Mmm, sweet and satisfying,” but the body says, “I need more.” Time will tell if the results hold true in people, but there are already human studies linking diet soda to excess weight.
Keep in mind that sugar substitutes aren’t the only way to cut back on calories while still satisfying your sweet tooth. Try piling on the berries. These naturally sweet treats are good on cereal, in yogurt, or by themselves in a bowl. Plus, they’re chock-full of fiber, and eating fiber-rich fruit could keep you from gaining weight.
Think quality, not quantity. A few nibbles of the richest dark chocolate can be more satisfying than a pound of cheap milk chocolate. Finally, don’t feel guilty. We all have at least one sweet tooth; it’s how we feed it that matters.