Could artificial sweeteners like these do more harm to your body than good? AP Photo/Jenny Kane
Do you take your coffee black, or do you put a little something in it? Many Americans reach for an artificial sweetener if they’re concerned about their waistlines. But it turns out, the health benefits of sugar substitutes aren’t so simple. We spoke with University of Manitoba assistant professor Meghan Azad about her(a study of studies) on how artificial sweeteners could actually contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Then, a conversation with University of California, Davis professor of American studies Carolyn Thomas about her book, .
- An artificial sweetener creates the perception of sweet taste, possibly tricking your body into thinking you’re eating sugar, according to Azad. This might cause your metabolism to reset and eventually lead to more weight gain.
- How did artificial sweetener companies sell Americans on their product? Creative marketing, of course! In the ‘80s NutraSweet sent out millions of gumballs in the mail. The surprise gift was meant to convince people that everyday products were just as good — maybe even better — when made with sugar substitutes.
- The Calorie Control Council, a lobbying group that supports artificial sweeteners, still says these sweeteners are a good way to control weight and says “paints with too broad a brush.” You can read their full response to Azad’s study .
- Watch this from Business Insider about the differences between sugar and name brand artificial sweeteners.
- Mental Floss the history of saccharin.
- Here’s the 1984 story that ran in about NutraSweet’s gumball campaign.
- ScienceNews explains how out of artificial sweeteners.