Here is a classic example of what happens when you try to outsmart Mother Nature. Rather than accept the fact that we’re eating too much sugar and try to eat less, we look for a magic loophole—an easy way to avoid doing the smart thing. We saw it with Tran’s fats and margarine, which were created as replacements for butter but turned out to be unsafe for human consumption. And it is happening again with artificial sweeteners.
There are five that have received FDA approval—saccharin (Sweet’N Low), acesulfame (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, and others), sucralose (Splenda), and neotame, which is used by food manufacturers only. They’re all bad for you. In a study of heart disease, people who consumed diet drinks every day had a greater risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 46 Artificial sweeteners have proven to be carcinogenic in animal studies.
They wreak havoc on your gut microbes, destroying beneficial bacteria and causing glucose intolerance. 48 They contain substances called excitotoxins, which can damage neurons and have been linked to neurologic side effects. 49 Something that tastes sweet but contains zero calories may sound like the perfect cure for sugar addiction. But it’s not, and here’s why.
Normally, when you eat or drink something sweet, it’s accompanied by lots of calories. But not when you consume artificial sweeteners. This confuses your brain. It senses that the taste of sugar without the accompanying calories from glucose and fructose is wrong, and it tries to correct the imbalance by making you hungrier.