Anyone who is on a journey to lose weight or become healthier knows that gaining positive results requires us to drop some of the foods and beverages that we love the most. That’s why diet sodas and sugar-substituted snacks are so appealing, but for some time this group of products has been derided for potentially sabotaging us, by increasing our appetite. Many of our favorite snacks are loaded with sweetness enhancers to keep us satisfied while consuming fewer calories, but are they doing more harm than good when it comes to attempting to reach an energy deficit? Fortunately, a new study published in The Lancet suggests that sweeteners like Stevia and Neotame are just fine in this respect.

How was the study conducted?

The eBioMedicine study, recently published by The Lancet involved a randomised trial of 53 healthy but obese adults, 33 were female and 20 were male. In order to determine the effects of sweeteners, the participants were given biscuits with a fruit filling that contained either the natural sugar; sucrose or one of two types of sweeteners; Stevia or Neotame. The individuals ate the biscuits that they were assigned to daily, for two-weeks, and were then scored in terms of their resulting fullness.

What were the results?

“In conclusion, biscuits reformulated to replace sugar using (Stevia) or Neotame showed no differences in appetite or endocrine responses (when compared to sucrose)” read the report. Furthermore, scientists found that foods containing sweeteners were also able to encourage positive hormonal responses such as the lowering of blood sugar levels. This news directly contradicts commentators who say that sweetness enhancers trick us into craving more food or drink. The findings are part of a series of investigations by the SWEET Project ( ) consortium of European partners, all reviewing the benefits and risks associated with switching from sugar to sweeteners.

Making the case for sweeteners, some experts believe that cutting out too much sugar could lead to greater negative effects than finding adequate substitutes. “Simply restricting sugar from foods without substitution may negatively impact its taste or increase sweet cravings, resulting in difficulties sticking to a low-sugar diet,” said Lead author Catherine Gibbons, as reported by Science Daily. “Replacing sugars with sweeteners and sweetness enhancers in food products is one of the most widely used dietary and food manufacturing strategies to reduce sugar intake and improve the nutritional profile of commercial foods and beverages.” We can drink to that!