The internet is rife with misinformation about low- and no-calorie sweeteners, from their safety to their efficacy as a weight loss tool. In a recent column for South Strand News, Nick McClary, a doctor of physical therapy, looks at the evidence to determine if low- and no-calorie sweeteners can help you lose weight.

McClary notes that when people want to lose weight, “calories are king… To lose weight, you must create a caloric deficit, which is best done by both cutting back on the calories you consume and increasing the calories burned from exercise.” He suggests that some people may choose to use low- and no-calorie sweeteners in food and beverages as a strategy to cut calories.

To determine if this truly an effective strategy, McClary looks to the science - “A systematic review of studies in the International Journal of Obesity published an article in 2015 reviewing both human and animal studies on what was termed “low-energy sweeteners,” which includes your common artificial sweeteners, as well as stevia, a plant-derived zero-calorie sweetener…Overall, they found that artificial sweeteners induced weight loss in subjects.”

McClary concludes, “we can be reasonably confident that artificial sweeteners can help us lose weight.” It’s time to mark this statement as “true” once and for all.

Not only are these sweeteners effective, they’re safe! Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have found low- and no-calorie sweeteners to be safe for use in foods and beverages. In fact, EFSA reaffirmed that aspartame is safe for consumption by the general population as recently as December 2013. This opinion is based on the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame to-date.

For more information about low- and no-calorie beverages can be found at Let’s Clear It Up.