And You're Still Using Sweetener?

Another study has just found that switching to sugar from artificial sweetener may not make you gain weight, and may just help you live a longer, and healthier life.

In fact, even as little as one artificially-sweetened (read: diet) soda a day "may be enough to significantly increase the risk for a number of health problems," according to a story at medicaldaily.com.

New evidence shows that people who frequently consume sugar substitutes may be "at an increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease."

The new study proved that weight gain and obesity were significantly greater in those drinking diet beverages compared with those who did not drink them, the story reports. The study also found that in Australia, where drinking artificially-sweetened beverages has increased while drinking sugar-sweetened beverages has declined, the rate of obesity has not decreased but been on the rise.

What's really going on?  For one thing, greater risk of high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, that, occurring together, can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and other diseases.

Believe it or not, another study showed that the risk for developing type 2 diabetes more than doubled for people who drank the most diet beverages, compared with those who drank less or none.

Cancer risk also increased for those who drank at least one diet drink per day (but full disclosure: it was also there for those who drank sugar-sweetened drinks, as well).

And if you're a woman within a certain age group, medicaldaily.com notes, the study showed that the risk for heart disease was also significantly higher if you consumed more than two artificially-sweetened beverages per day or (or, to be fair, more than two sugar-sweetened beverages per day.)

"Taken together, findings from all of the studies suggest that consuming artificial sweeteners is just as bad for you as sugar... and artificial sweeteners may even exacerbate the negative effects of sugar," the story points out.  This is because artificial sweeteners can fire up your cravings for more sweet foods and drinks.

In fact, studies in mice and rats have shown that consumption of noncaloric sweeteners dampens the body's response to sweet taste, causing the animals "to overindulge in calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food and so pack on extra pounds."

The takeaway?  "The current public health message to limit the intake of sugars needs to be expanded to limit intake of all sweeteners, not just sugars," said Susan E. Swithers, author of the review.




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