How can artificial sweeteners increase my risk of diabetes?

Cathy Clark-Reyes, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Many studies have raised questions as to the health risks of artificial sweeteners and whether they can increase the risk of diabetes. So consumers are left asking, "Am I better off with regular sugar?"

A study found that some diets high in saccharin, an artificial sweetener, cause changes in mice and people that could lead to obesity or type 2 diabetes. The sweetener altered microbes in the gut, thereby impairing the body’s ability to process glucose, or blood sugar, researchers say. Other sweeteners could cause similar glucose-intolerance problems that can lead to diabetes, studies have reported.

But no study has established a cause-and-effect relationship between artificial sweeteners and diabetes or prediabetes. About one-third of Americans have prediabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, which carries an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The National Cancer Institute and other health agencies have not found sound scientific evidence linking artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S. to serious health problems.
Elizabeth Boham, MD, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
New studies are showing a connection between artificial sweeteners and diabetes; these products confuse the body, and can create hormone and blood sugar imbalances. Watch functional medicine expert Elizabeth Boham, MD, discuss this correlation.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Since artificial sweeteners cause your body to crave more food, you can put on weight, which increases your risk for diabetes.

Whether you’re diabetic or not, limit yourself to no more than 2 servings of artificial sweeteners per day. (A serving size equals 1 sweetener packet or 1 diet soda.)

This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Artificial Sweeteners

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.