When we attempt to cut or reduce sugar from our diet, it may seem only natural to buffer our glucose withdrawal with artificial sweeteners. But is this a good idea? Most people probably don’t even know what artificial sweeteners are, let alone whether or not they are actually good for us. Let's take a look at whether or not the price of “sugar-free” is higher than it’s worth.

To understand the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners, we must have a good understanding of what they are. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes, which may or may not derive from natural substances or sugar itself. 

But what makes artificial sweeteners so appealing? Well, one of the biggest reasons we use them is because they have zero calories. According to the CDC, as of 2018, 42.2% of all Americans qualified as obese, which makes them more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and an array of other health conditions. Sugary foods are a significant contributor to America’s second-largest epidemic (thanks, COVID.) So, if weight control is the goal, switching to artificial sweeteners can prove an effective way to get there. They are also great for people who have diabetes. Artificial sweeteners aren’t carbohydrates, so they don’t raise blood sugar levels.

But are these sugar substitutes as sweet as they sound? Some significant concerns are that they may harm unborn children in expectant mothers, or even cause cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, however, there are no artificial sweeteners approved for use in the USA that cause cancer or any other serious health issues for that matter. In moderate quantities, artificial sweeteners are also safe for pregnant women.

Anything consumed in excess is never healthy for us. Individuals would only experience real issues when they are consuming way too much of it. Copious synthetic sweetener consumption causes headaches, nausea, depression, and even seizures are linked to So go ahead, have a Diet Coke or two (but not more than that), and rejoice in the fact that artificial sweeteners are perfectly fine to consume in moderation. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please visit the Mayo Clinic to learn more.