Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes: Good Or Bad?
Artificial sweeteners are often the topic of heated debate.
On one hand, they’re claimed to increase your risk of cancer and harm your blood sugar and gut health.
On the other hand, most health authorities consider them safe, and many people use them to reduce their sugar intake and lose weight.
Artificial sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, are chemicals added to some foods and beverages to make them taste sweet.
People often refer to them as “intense sweeteners” because they provide a taste similar to that of table sugar but up to several thousand times sweeter.
Although some sweeteners contain calories, the amount needed to sweeten products is so small that you end up consuming almost no calories.
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals used to sweeten foods and beverages. They provide virtually zero calories.
Those with diabetes may benefit from choosing artificial sweeteners, as they offer a sweet taste without the accompanying rise in blood sugar levels.
However, some studies report that drinking diet soda is associated with a 6–121% greater risk of developing diabetes.
This may seem contradictory, but it’s important to note that all of the studies were observational. They didn’t prove that artificial sweeteners cause diabetes, only that people likely to develop type 2 diabetes also like to drink diet soda.
On the other hand, many controlled studies show that artificial sweeteners do not affect blood sugar or insulin levels.
Thus far, only one small study in Hispanic women found a negative effect.
Women who drank an artificially sweetened drink before consuming a sugary drink had 14% higher blood sugar levels and 20% higher insulin levels, compared with those who drank water before consuming a sugary drink.
However, the participants weren’t used to drinking artificially sweetened drinks, which may partially explain the results. What’s more, artificial sweeteners may have different effects depending on people’s age or genetic background.
For example, research shows that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with artificially sweetened ones produced stronger effects among Hispanic youth.
This could be related to the unexpected effect seen on Hispanic women above.
Although research results have not been unanimous, the current evidence is generally in favor of artificial sweetener use among those with diabetes. Still, more research is needed to evaluate their long-term effects in different populations.
Artificial sweeteners can help those with diabetes reduce their intake of added sugar. However, more research is needed on the effects of artificial sweeteners in various populations.