How Artificial Sweeteners Fake Out Your Body

How Artificial Sweeteners Fake Out Your Body

In American football, there’s a “fake” happening on almost every play. Whether it’s a head fake, a running fake, or a passing fake, the idea is to trick the defense into going one way, while your offense goes another—and gains yardage.

But if you take in lots of artificial sweetener, you fake your digestive system into believing that you’re giving it calories when you’re not—and all you’ll gain is unwanted weight and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia took a look at what happens in your body when you use a lot of artificial sweeteners for as little as two weeks and found those fakes throw your body’s ability to control blood glucose out-of-whack.

Seems that faking out your endocrine system—“Here, you have fuel. Oh, wait, no you don’t!”—damages your body’s ability to process real sugar properly and increases post-meal blood glucose levels. So when you eat food containing real sugar—naturally found in 100 percent whole grains, fruits and veggies, and crammed into packaged foods and beverages—your system hoards it and gets overwhelmed. That leads to glucose intolerance. Fake sugar substitutes also change the bacteria inside your gut, increasing inflammation and insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is around the corner. Clearly, sugar substitutes lie to your body and no-body likes a liar.

Craving a sweet treat? Enjoy one ounce of 70% cacao dark chocolate and 2-3 servings of fresh fruit.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

More On

Spice Up Your Dishes to Cut Back on Salt

article

Spice Up Your Dishes to Cut Back on Salt
If you want to cut back on the salt shaker, spice things up with your dishes. According to the results of a study on decreasing salt intake, eating ca...
7 Festive Foods Your Heart Will Love

slideshow

7 Festive Foods Your Heart Will Love
Keep your ticker in tip top shape this season by including these heart-friendly foods at your family meals and seasonal cocktail parties.
4 Big Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Fiber

article

4 Big Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Fiber
What if a single nutrient could: lower your risk of death over time by 15 to 30 percent lower cholesterol and blood pressure help you maintain a ...
Hypertension: Salt Still Matters

article

Hypertension: Salt Still Matters
Photo Credit: Peppered Jane, via Flickr Creative Commons When does following a low-salt diet really matter? Find out from Carra Richling, from Ornish...
The Superfruit You May Not Know

article

The Superfruit You May Not Know
Try something different. Add a little lychee to your fruit salad. Not only will it add an exotic tickle for your taste buds, but it will tickle your t...