Many people with type 2 diabetes consume artificial sweeteners to control their glucose, but whether this strategy is helpful or harmful is not clear. Moreover, the clinician’s dilemma is how to best advise their patients when pros and cons of using artificial sweeteners seem to change daily.”
While experts haven’t found strongly conclusive findings that artificial sweeteners are hurting us, there are a few contrary pieces of evidence suggesting they might have longterm detrimental effects.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that are synthetically created, meaning they don’t naturally occur outside of a laboratory. This kind of sweetener have less calories, and are often 100 times more potent than sugar when it comes to sweetening, meaning less is needed to give food a sweet taste. They’re commonly used in diet soda, yogurts, candy, pastries, etc.
The Possible Negative Effects
One notable factor from these studies is that there’s evidence that artificial sweeteners have effects on gut bacteria. In a study conducted on rats, synthetic sweeteners were shown to have effects on gut bacteria and cause Gut Dysbiosis. (Fair warning, this study is pretty technical and hard to understand). Consider that our gut bacteria are capable of making it more difficult to lose weight. It makes sense that artificial sweeteners could have negative effects on us that would be overlooked at first glance.
Consuming artificially sweetened food and beverages could also be distorting our perception of how much we should be eating. If you’re drinking diet soda at a party, you might decide eating an extra slice of cake isn’t that big a deal. In the moment, it likely isn’t, but enough indulgences like that could begin to stack up. At the moment, the best advice seems to be: view foods that are artificially sweetened as the same as those sweetened with sugar. Your aim should be to have a healthier diet overall instead of trying to replace sugars with artificial sweeteners.
Check out more of the findings at the original article: MEDPAGE TODAY