Your low-cal sweetener is making you fat and sick: study

Bad news for diet soda lovers.

Low-cal drinks and snacks made with artificial sweeteners are just as likely to cause diabetes and obesity as foods filled with plain old sugar, a new study confirms.

Researchers wanted to better understand why rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise, despite the availability of so many sugar alternatives. So they examined the effects of both sugar and common sugar substitutes on two groups of lab rats.

After just three weeks, both sets of critters exhibited a decline in health.

The team found that rats that had consumed the artificial sweeteners developed problems with the way they processed and stored fat. Moreover, the ones who had gorged on one artificial sweetener — acesulfame potassium, used in gum and baked goods — experienced a nasty buildup of the chemical in the blood vessels.

But that doesn’t mean that artificial sweeteners are necessarily worse for you.

“It is not as simple as ‘stop using artificial sweeteners,’” lead researcher Brian Hoffmann, an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, says in a press release. No matter how the flavor gets delivered, he says, a sweets-heavy diet is a hazard to your health.

Instead of swapping one saccharine food for another, he suggests cutting back on sweet eats altogether if you’re concerned about obesity or diabetes. “Moderation is the key,” he says.

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