Artificial Sweeteners: Not So Sweet After All

Sachets of Artificial Sweetener

Those low-calorie sweeteners may seem like a quick fix to losing weight and you probably think you’re being healthier by skipping out on the real sugar, but the truth may surprise you. Yes, these artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, Sweet ‘N Low) may help you shed a few pounds, but in the long run, the cons far outweigh the pros if used excessively.

“An important thing for people to keep in mind is to use a variety of sweeteners in a healthy diet to lower the risk of increased exposure,” says Angela Ginn, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Baltimore, Maryland. “I recommend enjoying the natural sweetness from produce and dairy. Choose sweeteners occasionally, always think moderation.”

Here are five health risks associated with the long-term use of artificial sweeteners.

1. Increased risk of diabetes

According to a British study published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, individuals who didn’t drink sugar-laden drinks on a daily basis lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent. The study also found the link between type 2 diabetes and sweetened milk products to be even worse!

2. Dull taste buds

Most artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter (that’s a serious understatement) than real sugar. As a result, your taste buds get used to all that sweetness and overtime, nothing will ever seem sweet enough for you, causing you to consume more and more sugar. It’s a viscous cycle. In her book, The Sugar Smart Diet, Anne Alexander also notes, “And evidence suggests that exposing your taste buds to these high-intensity sweeteners makes them less receptive to natural sources of sweetness such as fruit.”