Are artificial sweeteners like "Fools Gold"?

Are using artificial sweeteners the best option for us when we are on a diet or trying to manage diabetes? The idea that you get the same great taste that sugar gives you but without the spikes in blood sugar or calories. However, (and you knew that was coming), a new study published in the journal Nature, suggests that it indeed maybe the opposite. Artificial Sweeteners may, in fact, be increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Study was done by researchers from Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The researchers looked at the effects of artificial sweeteners on mice. The mice were split into two groups. For 11 weeks, one group of mice were given water with glucose, and artificial sweetener and the other group was given water with or without sugar. What the data revealed was interesting. The mice that drank the water containing an artificial sweetener had developed a glucose intolerance and increased blood sugar levels. The mice that drank the water with sugar or just water alone did not have the same effects.

What the study also revealed was that the artificial sweeteners tended to disrupt the bacteria in the gut possibly causing increased risk of obesity and diabetes in both mice and humans.

The researchers also looked at the long-term effects of artificial sweetener on humans. They looked at data of a clinical trial which involved non-diabetic subjects. From this particular study, they found that long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners caused increased weight and higher fasting blood glucose levels.

It seems that more and more evidence is mounting on what artificial sweeteners do to our bodies. If you are using artificial sweeteners, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s always best to consider more natural choices to whatever we use. It would be great if some of these shortcuts or substitutes worked for us, but so far the food industry hasn’t come up with great alternatives when it comes to replacing sugar. Please also consider that we are attempting to replace a substance that wasn’t good for us in the first place.

Dr. Shah, MD