Low-Calorie Sweeteners Could Increase Your Chances of Diabetes, Study Says

Low-calorie sweeteners are a healthy sugar alternative, right? Not according to the results of a shocking new study.

Girl pours sugar from a bag into a mug of coffee. Selective focus. ToningShutterstock/Irina Timokhina

Trying to lose weight and stay healthy at the same time (try cutting out these two foods)? Let’s not beat around the bush–dieting and eating well can be extremely hard. When you’ve gotten used to a certain way of eating, giving it up overnight may feel a little dramatic. Instead, it could be worth trying to make small, sustainable changes that will stick.

Many believe that reducing added sugar in favor of low-calorie sweeteners is the way to go. After all, we know that too much sugar can lead to a whole load of health problems. However, despite what you might have heard, new research suggests that making this small lifestyle change could actually do more harm than good.

What the Study Found

A brand-new study, released last month by the Endocrine Society, could change the way you see these sweeteners forever. The results of the research suggest that these seemingly harmless substitutes could have a negative impact on health. Rather than helping people lose weight, the sweeteners could have the opposite effect.

“Our stem cell-based studies indicate that low-calorie sweeteners promote additional fat accumulation within cells compared with cells not exposed to these substances, in a dose-dependent fashion,” Sabyasachi Sen, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at George Washington University in Washington told Science Daily.

Put simply, that means that the more you consume low-calorie sweeteners, the more likely your body is to store an increased amount of fat within your cells. That dysfunction could promote metabolic syndrome, and, therefore, predispose people to prediabetes and diabetes. Once diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the risk of diabetes increases three to five times.

Want to prevent diabetes? Try a vegan diet.

What’s more, the damaging effect of low-calorie sweeteners could be far worse for people who already have ongoing weight issues. “We think the effect is more pronounced in overweight and obese people rather than their normal weight counterparts because they have more insulin resistance and may have more glucose in their blood,” explained Sen.

So, if you’re looking for a simple way to stay healthy, avoiding low-calorie sweeteners altogether while consuming less sugar could be the answer. It could seem difficult at first, but choosing low-sugar meals (like this whole week’s worth) and maintaining a balanced diet is the best way to look after your health. Why not try it today?

If you want to cut sugar, try these low-sugar snacks.
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Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.