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There are plenty of rumors circulating about whether artificial sweeteners are extremely dangerous or completely harmless. Megan Madden, a registered dietitian at TheHealthyDiet.com, lays out the facts and tells us what we really need to know about use of sugar substitutes.
"Eat for a Longer Life: The Truth about Artificial Sweeteners"
"Artificial sweeteners have gotten a pretty bad wrap over the years. Early research showed that large quantities of the sugar substitute sacarin causes bladder tumors in lab animals, but there has never been any clear research that showed that moderate amounts of artificial sweeteners cause any type of cancer in humans.
That said, there are a few reasons why you might want to think twice about how many sugar substitutes you're using. The sugar substitute called aspartame is two hundred times sweeter than table sugar, and sucralose, which comes in the little yellow packets, is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. So if you're using large quantities of sugar substitutes, you're actually training your taste buds to expect a more intense level of sweetness. Plus, just because you use an alternative sweetener doesn't mean you're lowering your calorie intake for the day. If you reach for a sugar-free cookie, it may not end up satisfying your craving and then you overindulge and have another ten. Or, some people justify having an excessively large lunch, well, because they had a diet soda. Well weight loss doesn't exactly work that way.
It's okay to use artificial sweeteners in moderation, but just keep in mind that because they are so sweet, a little bit will go a very long way. And if you're using them to control your calorie intake for weight loss, you have to use the products as part of a whole diet of low calorie foods."