Skip Nav
What to Eat at Every Meal to Lose Weight
Weight Loss
This Is What You Should Be Eating at Each Meal to Lose Weight
Why Therapy Is Self-Care
Healthy Living
Sometimes Self-Care Means Going to Therapy, or at Least That's True For Me
Debloating Foods
Healthy Pasta Recipes That Won't Leave You Bloated
Weight Loss
If You're Stuck in a Fat-Loss Plateau, Do These 11 Things to Break Through
Healthy Living
Need to Shrink Your Budget? These Healthy Meal Prep Ideas Couldn't Be More Affordable

Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Can Still Lead to Diabetes and Obesity, Study Finds


The dangers of eating too much sugar have been well-documented; not only can it cause weight gain, but it can also lead to other health complications such as diabetes and heart disease. In an effort to cut back on sugar, many people have replaced it with zero-calorie sweetener alternatives including Splenda (sucralose) and Equal (aspartame), or switched to diet foods such as diet soda and sugar-free candy. And although these sweeteners have no calories, they could cause just as many health problems as regular sugar, according to a new study.

The research, conducted on rats and cell cultures, examined how zero-calorie sweeteners affect biochemical changes in the body. It also looked at how these artificial sweeteners impact the lining of blood vessels. Researchers fed different groups of rats diets either high in regular sugar (glucose or fructose), or zero-calorie sweeteners (aspartame or acesulfame potassium). After three weeks, the results suggested that artificial sweeteners change how the body processes fat and gets its energy. Furthermore, acesulfame potassium seemed to accumulate in the blood and had a more harmful effect on the cells that line blood vessels.

"Despite the addition of these non-caloric artificial sweeteners to our everyday diets, there has still been a drastic rise in obesity and diabetes," lead researcher Brian Hoffmann, PhD, said, according to Science Daily. "In our studies, both sugar and artificial sweeteners seem to exhibit negative effects linked to obesity and diabetes, albeit through very different mechanisms from each other." He added that replacing sugars with zero-calorie artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism.

Although research is still up in the air about whether sugar or artificial sweeteners are worse for you, it's clear that replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners won't automatically make you healthier or even necessarily lose weight. These findings prove it's best to eat both in moderation and put down that diet soda — you're better off sticking to naturally sweetened seltzer instead.

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Is the Whole30 Diet Healthy?
Why Therapy Is Self-Care
Is Kombucha Bad For Your Teeth?
Tone It Up’s Katrina Scott on Losing Weight After Birth
What Results Can You Expect From Pilates?
What Is the Clean Program?
Healthy Baking Recipes
Carbs in Popular Cheeses
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas
Life Lessons Learnt Playing Team Sport
What Are Weighted Blankets
Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
From Our Partners
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds