Can Sugar-Free Foods Cause Diabetes?

When artificial sweeteners came on the scene at the turn of the century, they were hailed as a weight loss miracle. All of the sweetness of regular sugar with none of the calories? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well as we’re learning now, it was. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to all kinds of health problems, from headaches and tummy issues to potentially life-threatening diseases like diabetes.

We know what you’re thinking: how can the alternative to sugar be bad for or be a contributing factor to developing diabetes? It turns out that artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, or aspartame can encourage growth of some unsavory bacteria in your gut, so you develop a glucose intolerance. This can lead to type 2 diabetes (the one you don’t develop as a child) and other metabolic illnesses. In a study reported by Rodale News, scientists found that when they killed off most or all of that bacteria, the diseases virtually disappeared from their test subjects, which were mice.

Some studies have also learned that consuming a lot of artificial sweeteners can make the body retain more fat, especially in people who already have weight problems. What was once considered an excellent tool in losing weight actually has the opposite effect, so what’s a person to do? The current fad is a return to more natural, whole grain and fat foods. Sugar, like most things, is okay in moderation, and a balanced diet is a healthy one (just like your mama always said)!