Your favorite way to cut calories — using low or no calorie sweeteners — could actually be hampering your weight loss goals.
This is according to a new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which analyzed 37 studies on the subject to determine if these sweeteners helped with weight loss.
What they found was just the opposite: People who regularly consumed artificial sweeteners were more likely to gain weight, develop diabetes, and develop heart disease.
It might not be the sweeteners fault, however. TIME reports that it could be the general increase in eating processed foods, among other speculations. Numerous theories are being tested to help explain the link between artificial sweeteners and health problems. Popular theories include that sweeteners interfere with nutrient absorption, can make people crave more sweets, and that people use the zero calories as an excuse to indulge more frequently.
Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is not the answer to your weight loss goals. But, if you aren’t yet willing to part with this low-calorie option, here’s how to pick the safest option, based on science.