By Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD

After artificial turf (AstroTurf) was laid down on professional football fields -- starting with the Houston Astrodome in 1966 -- football players suffered an alarming increase in knee injuries. So the NFL replaced it with other artificial surfaces, but between 2000 and 2009, ACL injuries were 67 percent higher on fake grass (FieldTurf) than real grass. Although artificial surfaces were supposed to make it easier to play indoors or outdoors in all types of weather, the game-change hurt players instead.

The same can be said about artificial sweeteners. Originally designed to restrict calories, it turns out they may do more harm than good. They trick the body into thinking it’s taken in sugar when it hasn’t -- often triggering sugar-binging (and weight gain). And now a study in the journal Nature shows they alter your gut biome by changing the balance of bad and good bacteria…and that causes insulin resistance and subsequent glucose intolerance.

Insulin resistance means your body isn’t using insulin properly to convert glucose into energy. That can pack on pounds and lead to diabetes. Clearly, like artificial turf, artificial sweeteners don’t solve a problem, they contribute to one -- the national epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

Our gut feeling?  If you’ve been drinking diet sodas or munching on sugar-free candies, stop. Instead, opt for fresh, unadulterated beverages and foods and take a probiotic (we recommend a spore form that contains bifidobacteria, bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, and/or lactobacillus GG) to restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut. That’ll punt the fake stuff.