The use of artificial low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and stevia have been an omnipresent factor for many health and fitness regimens, but the public still only has a relatively basic understanding of their overall health effects.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people tend to see a fair amount of weight loss with the use of artificial sweeteners when used as a substitute for sugar, causing researchers to conclude that low-calorie sweeteners, or LCS's, "may be a useful dietary tool to improve compliance with weight loss or weight maintenance plans." One of the largest studies conducted on low calorie sweeteners revealed that consuming beverages that has low calorie sweeteners in place of those that use regular sugar produce weight loss and reduced fat accumulation in children with normal weight.
On the other hand, some studies suggest that these LCS's may actually be contributing to weight gain, rather than helping people lose weight, because they are indirectly influencing some downstream factors that affect the body's insulin levels, satiety indicators, and changes in insulin levels. In 2008 a study entitled "Fueling the Obesity Epidemic" where more that 3,000 people participate showed how subjects who were using artificial sweeteners gained more weight compared to those who did not use them during the trial period. Consuming LCS's has also been associated to more frequent hunger pangs.
The United States FDA also allows that use of other artificial sweeteners such as hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, and lactitol. Currently there are more products that are being synthesized to replace sugar and there are even different variants in other countries. The FDA is certain that there will be more products similar these substances that are yet to be launched and marketed as weight loss and health substitutes.