For some time, health experts have warned us about the risks of artificial sweeteners. They say the products add unnatural chemicals to our diets and can increase sugar cravings. Now, science is emerging to back up the inclination that these sugary shortcuts are bad news. In fact, a new study suggests artificial sweeteners may even increase the risk of developing diabetes.

In an experiment, mice consumed saccharin (the sweetener found in Sweet’N Low), sucralose (Splenda) or aspartame (Equal) in their water while others drank plain water or water sweetened with glucose or with table sugar. After a week, the mice drinking artificial sweeteners showed a significant intolerance to glucose, meaning they were unable to process large amounts of sugar. Researchers also enlisted seven human volunteers to consume the maximum recommended amount of saccharin for six days. Their blood sugar levels were similarly disrupted.

The experiments’ results do not bode well for Splenda-lovers. An intolerance to glucose, researchers say, can be a precursor to more serious illnesses, including Type 2 diabetes. This is yet another reason to use all sweeteners in moderation and when you do, reach for the real thing.

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