The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Just because a soda, sweet treat, or dessert says it’s sugar-free, doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy. It might be lower in calories, but it probably contains artificial sweeteners used to produce a sweetness similar to sugar.

It might taste good and satisfy your sweet tooth, but the low-calorie, sugar-free option may not be as healthy as you might think. In fact, research shows that artificial sweeteners can have an impact on metabolism, and may even lead to weight gain, according to research published in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry. Researchers also found that artificial sweeteners may be particularly harmful to kids.

In the study, researchers found the kids absorb twice as much artificial sweetener from foods as adults. Early exposure to artificial sweeteners may impact a child’s palate, food choices, and metabolism that could lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems as adults.

A separate study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine found that consuming artificial sweeteners increases the appetite for sugar-sweetened foods, and creates a habit or craving similar to an addiction. “Unsweetening the world’s diet may be the key to reversing the obesity epidemic,” says Yale University researcher Dr. Qing Yang.

That’s the skinny on artificial sweeteners. And it sounds a lot like you can’t have your cake, and eat it, too. A small amount of sweet treats or the occasional dessert isn’t going to derail your diet. But it’s clear that too much, even if it’s sugar-free, isn’t healthy.

Fortunately you can still enjoy things like Chocolate Caramel Chips, Kettle Corn Crisps, and White Drizzle Chips, without munching your way through ton of carbs or calories. And if you’re looking for Low-Carb meal options, just choose one of 30-plus entrees made from fresh ingredients.