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How Artificial Sweeteners Can Hurt You

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Although they’re promoted as solutions to obesity and diabetes, artificial zero-calorie sweeteners actually contribute to these problems, according to Israeli research published in the journal Nature. Through a series of tests with both animals and people, researchers found that artificial sweeteners change the composition of gut bacteria, sometimes in as little as one week, in a way that leads to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Some healthier alternatives:

Artificial Sweetners

  • Natural, no-calorie sweeteners such as stevia, Erythritol, and monk fruit (lo han). Xylitol is a great low-calorie option.
  • Honey is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and contains antioxidants.
  • Coconut sugar contains zinc, potassium, iron, and inulin, a fiber that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Pure maple syrup contains a variety of antioxidants and can provide an energy boost before and after intense exercise.

How can you restore healthy gut bacteria? See “Gut Check.”