Do Artificial Sweeteners Make You Crave Sugar?

Sure, they have no calories, but do zero-calorie sweeteners affect your hunger? A new study explains what really happens.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness by analyzing the headlines, simplifying the latest research, and offering quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Do artificial sweeteners make you crave sugar?

  • The food that protects your heart (and your skin)

  • Exercise upgrades

  • Tuesday tips

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Fact or Fiction: Do artificial sweeteners make you crave more sweet foods?

One of the biggest arguments against artificial sweeteners is that they make you crave sweet foods despite their absence of calories.

Despite the theories, recent research suggests artificial sweeteners do not make you crave more sweet food or increase hunger. 

That’s not all, eating foods with artificial or plant-based sweeteners might also help reduce your blood sugar and insulin. 

While this might seem surprising, the benefits of non-calorie sweeteners aren’t new. A prior review found that “non-nutritive sweeteners” (the name for calorie-free sweeteners) do not increase appetite or caloric intake. It’s probably why so many studies have found that sugar-free beverages tend to result in weight loss. In one 52-week randomized controlled trial, people who had sugar-free drinks daily lost more weight than those drinking water. 

That’s not to say you should replace water in your diet. And if you don’t like artificial or plant-based sweeteners, or they disrupt your stomach, there’s no need to consume them. But if you’re concerned about appetite, hunger, or weight gain, dozens of studies insist artificial sweeteners are likely safe and could help support your health goals. 

Déjà Vu: The Many Health Benefits of Lycopene  

Yesterday, we discussed how lycopene can make your dentist smile because it can improve oral health. As a result, doctors worldwide — from cardiologists to dermatologists — emailed us and encouraged us to share that lycopene has more benefits than we mentioned.

So we went digging, and the research suggests it’s true: People who add lycopene to their diet are more likely to avoid cardiovascular diseases and have healthier skin. 

The studies suggest that lycopene works in many ways to help protect your heart. It has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, cardioprotective, and anti-platelet benefits. You might not know what all of that means, but it’s a hit list of heart-healthy outcomes. And research suggests that supplementing with lycopene can even help lower your blood pressure.

Studies have also found that a lycopene-rich diet offers UV skin protection, can help you recover from sun damage and prevent sunburns, and could even increase procollagen levels, giving you more youthful-looking skin. 

If you want to pump up your lycopene intake, sundried tomatoes or tomato puree are the most lycopene-rich options, but you can also get lycopene from regular tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and grapefruit (and several other foods). We recommend getting lycopene from your diet, but if you go the natural route, some dental benefits start with as little as 6 mg per day, with all benefits accomplished with up to 20 mg daily. 

Exercise Upgrades: The Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is one of Arnold’s favorite exercises — but most people do it incorrectly. 

In this video from The Pump App, Arnold suggests one minor adjustment that helps the exercise hit your target muscles in a major way. 

Tuesday Tips

💪 Are you applying sunscreen the wrong way? (teaser: if you only apply once per day, the answer is yes)

💪 How to cook restaurant-quality chicken in your home (don’t forget to remove the moisture to unlock the juiciness!)

💪 You asked, we delivered. The Official Pump Club Shaker Bottle is here. We ordered 500. Get it in all black or the red lid/black bottle combination.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell