Artificial sweeteners and diabetes, experts give final word on their link

If you have diabetes, here’s what happens when you swap artificial sweetener for sugar.

Neighbourhood Health Desk: Whether you’re trying to lose weight or have been diagnosed with risk of diabetes, you may have thought of switching to artificial sweeteners. We know that sugary things can drive insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. But the role of artificial sweeteners has always been under debate. Many diabetic patients are asked to swap sugar with artificial sweetener in their meals. But is it really as healthy as advertised?

What happens when you eat sugar?

Whenever you put a sugary treat in your mouth, the brain and the gut alert the pancreas to start producing insulin. This is in response to the expectation that your glucose level in the blood will go up. But if you are eating or drinking anything with artificial sweetener, then the glucose never appears in the bloodstream. The pancreas looks for glucose to trigger the release of insulin. Since every artificial sweetener is different chemically, it is difficult to understand its effect.

Still can’t give up sugar?

Nutritionist Iram Zaidi suggests switching to natural sweeteners such as stevia and honey. Though these are not completely healthy, these are definitely not as risky as pure sugar. While these are safer options, it is best to cut out sugar – whether artificial or natural, or limit its intake for good health.

 

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