Many of us choose to drink diet sodas and eat sugar-free treats sweetened with artificial sweeteners, believing that they will help us lose weight and have no negative side effects. A recently published study has called this into question. In this study, researchers found artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance, which leads to high blood sugar, in both mice and a group of human volunteers. The study showed that in some people, the artificial sweeteners affected and changed the population of the microbes in the stomach (which are responsible for digestion) in a way that leads to an increase in blood sugar. The researchers emphasized that the results are preliminary, but this study does bring to the spotlight the issue of possible side effects of consuming artificial sweeteners.
This is not the only study that has shown that artificial sweeteners may have some risks. Studies of diet soda have also found a link between consumption of diet sodas and weight gain, along with an increased risk of diabetes. Researchers have not identified the exact cause of this link, but suspect it may be due to the brain’s response to the sweet taste of the artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste may trigger a response that includes a craving for even more sweets, causing you to consumer even more calories.
However, the concerns about the possible side effects of artificial sweeteners should not be an excuse to consume sodas and sweet treats containing sugar. Even drinking one sugary soda a day can put you at risk for weight gain and type 2 diabetes. If you are concerned about the side effects of artificial sweeteners, some experts say it is best to use them for a short time period, if needed, to help wean yourself from sugary drinks and food.