It is a well-known rule of thumb that those with the metabolic condition diabetes should avoid sugar. When it comes to beverages that usually means choosing those labeled “diet” as sugar is not added. However, new research from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University indicates that this may not be the safest of options even for those who have not yet been diagnosed with the condition.
Researchers fed groups of rats diets high in sugar or artificial sweeteners including aspartame and acesulfame potassium. After three weeks, blood samples showed significant differences in concentrations of biochemicals, fats and amino acids.
“We observed that in moderation, your body has the machinery to handle sugar,” said Brian Hoffmann, lead researcher on the study and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University. “It is when the system is overloaded over a long period of time that this machinery breaks down. We also observed that replacing these sugars with non-caloric artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism.”
The researchers caution all people that the trick to not having adverse metabolic changes with both sugar and artificial sweeteners is used in moderation. However, this study done on rodents does back a lot of previous research that indicates artificial sweeteners can be just as bad as sugar in the diet.
This is not the first research suggesting artificial sweeteners might have a negative impact on your health. Last year, a study claimed drinks with artificial sweeteners could increase a person’s risk of dementia or stroke.
Four years ago, a separate study published in Nature said sweeteners have an equally direct impact on causing diabetes as sugar.
As always, water, both still and sparkling, is an alternative as well as unsweetened and herbal tea to keep beverage related calories to a minimum.