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Mythbusters: Is Artificial Sweetener healthier?

Statistically, the artificial sweetener industry is growing as many people are becoming diabetic and gaining weight. Many people have started cutting down sugar but they can’t get over their cravings and their habitual sweet tooth indulgence.

However, despite artificial sweeteners being an alternative to sugar, the fear around this item lingers. Is it safe? Does it cause cancer? Any long term effects? Is it addictive?

Hence, let’s discern research papers and science to understand, is artificial sweetener really worth the hype?

Which is heathier- Artificial sweetener vs. Granulated sugar?
  • Five artificial sweeteners; saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose and one natural sweetener, stevia has been approved for consumption.
  • Use of artificial sweeteners reduces intake of added sugars in the diet. A reduce in added sugar results in a reduction of daily calorie intake.
Less sugar consumption results in lower calorie intake hence weight loss
  • However, those who are happy consuming less sugar may actually increase consumption of other types of food thus increasing overall calorie intake and offsetting weight loss.
Consuming less sugar in one beverage and overeating at other meals will only result in weight gain.
  • Nevertheless, the manner in which the body responds to these artificial sweeteners varies. Frequent use of artificial sweeteners overstimulates sugar receptors. Over a long term, many may need to take foods with very high sugar levels to stimulate their taste receptors. Fruits and vegetables which are less sweet will become unappealing.
Frequent use of artificial sweeteners overstimulates the sweet receptors
  • Artificial sweeteners can be addictive. Participants in a study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda.
Diet Drinks can be addictive and one may start consuming large numbers of it and due to it having little to none calories. This results in overeating during other meals.

To conclude it all, artificial sweeteners function to reduce dependence on sugar and not as a total replacement for sugar. Do consume sugars and artificial sweeteners sparsely.

Consume more healthier whole foods like vegetables, fruits and protein.


Artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

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