Many people with type 2 diabetes need to lose weight.
Therefore, they try to avoid high-sugar food and high-calorie food. Artificial sweeteners, which can have zero calories and taste quite good, sounds a perfect replacement of sugar.
However, recent studies show that artificial sweeteners are linked to diabetes and obesity.
In a study presented in the Experimental Biology annual meeting 2018, researchers found a link with consuming artificial sweeteners and changes in blood markers linked to higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
This is surprising because the sweeteners are produced to help people avoid weight gain and improve health.
Currently, FDA has approved 5 types of artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose.
These sweeteners contain no natural sugar and zero calories. Although they seem to be ideal choices to beat obesity and diabetes, FDA has given a cautious nod to this.
So why are artificial sweeteners harmful instead of beneficial to us?
One possible reason is that when people consume products containing artificial sweeteners, like a diet soda, they tend to get the lost calories in other foods.
One example is a man can have a diet soda and think it is okay to eat a cake. The cake’s calories may be much higher than the regular sugar-sweetened drinks.
Another possible reason is that artificial sweeteners may change how people taste food. In one previous study, we mentioned that researchers found diet soda and other lite drinks can make people overweight.
They think that people who consume a lot of artificial sweeteners have a greater appetite for sugar, coupled with a tendency to overeat in general.
The third reason why artificial sweeteners can make you overweight is that when you consume these diet products, you may stop associating sweetness with caloric intake.
In other words, you think sweet things do not increase calories.
This is bad because you may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over non-sweet but more nutritious food, and eventually gain more weight.
So, should you avoid all the artificial sweeteners? Probably not.
An article on the Conversation mentions that artificial sweeteners are not all equal. While most artificial sweeteners have negative health effects, some can be beneficial.
For instance, one artificial sweetener called stevia may help improve blood pressure and glucose tolerance. So be careful to choose the good type of sweetener.
Finally, although you should avoid food with added sugar, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, not all naturally sweet foods are bad to your health.
For example, whole fruits are very nutritious and full of vitamins, dietary fiber and low in glycemic load. It is very beneficial to add them to your daily diet.
To summarize, people with diabetes should choose artificial sweeteners more carefully.
This is because some artificial sweeteners may change people’s appetite and taste and make them overeat food.
It can cause overweight or obesity, which is very bad for people with diabetes.
Overweight or obesity could also increase risks of other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and many types of cancers.
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