To Artificially Sweeten or

People often have to use artificial sweeteners because of a medical condition. For example, sugar substitutes can be great for diabetics, who can't tolerate real sugar because their bodies can't produce the hormone insulin. Insulin delivers the sugar from our blood to our cells, where we utilize it as energy. When your body doesn't have enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and doesn't get into the cells. This condition is known as high blood-sugar and can be extremely dangerous for people with diabetes. Because sugar substitutes do not contain any glucose (and therefore do not require insulin), they can be effective sweeteners for people with diabetes.

A more popular reason for using artificial sweeteners is saving calories. However, this notion might not be as effective as you think. Although it is true that diet soft drinks and other artificially sweetened foods can save you a lot of sugar calories, several studies have shown that people who "save calories" with these diet foods usually wind up eating those saved calories somewhere else. Pretty ironic, huh? Other studies suggest that artificial sweeteners might, in fact, make you hungrier. Did you know that a real sugar packet (that's 1 teaspoon) has only 16 calories? You can easily burn that off walking an extra flight of stairs. It's certainly something to think about the next time you grab artificial sweetener.

Artificial sweeteners have always been the subject of much controversy. Before you tear open your gazillionth nonsugar packet, read the following and learn the facts.

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