The Latest Study About Artificial Sweeteners Says: Not Good, Not Bad

Turns out artificial sweeteners aren't so bad for you—but you might want to steer clear.

Is dark chocolate good for you? Is a glass of wine better to sip—or skip? The advice from doctors always seems to be changing. Here’s the latest flip-flop.

Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners

You’ve heard that cutting back on sugar is important to maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic health conditions, like diabetes. It seemed like artificial and non-sugar sweeteners (like the ones in Diet Coke) were the answer.

It wasn’t long before research told us that artificial sweeteners were no good. But the latest study says something a bit different. Here’s what you need to know!

So, What’s the Right Answer?

A recent analysis in The BMJ explored the health effects of consuming artificial sweeteners. It was actually a study of studies, examining 56 studies on adults and children. The researchers set out to determine if artificial sweeteners affect our risk for chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Overall, the researchers found no statistical difference between people who eat non-sugar sweeteners and those who don’t. In other words, eating non-sugar sweeteners did not affect the study participants’ risks of developing a disease.

In fact, there may even be a small advantage to eating non-sugar sweeteners! Some of the study participants reported improved weight loss and better-controlled blood sugar levels when eating artificial sweeteners.

How to Handle Your Sweets Cravings

The lead study author, Dr. Joerg J. Meerpohl, doesn’t want you to stock up on stevia. He wants to see a study that will follow people long-term. Meerpohl also recommends replacing sugary treats with a healthy option.

“There are cheaper and widely available alternatives to artificially sweetened foods,” he told the New York Times. “You can always have water instead of Diet Coke.”

Can’t get your usual afternoon Diet Coke out of your head? You might want to make a flavor-packed infused water with fresh fruit and herbs, pop open a sparkling water or a healthy snack that tastes like dessert.

Treat Yourself to a Low Sugar Dessert!
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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.