Eating sugar free diet foods isn’t the best strategy for dieters, since artificial sweeteners are proven to trigger sugar cravings and fuel the appetite.

Do you guzzle on diet drinks because you think they will help you lose weight? Or maybe it’s the sugar free cookies that are your placebo instead, and lull you into the false belief that you are doing well by eating them.  But this isn’t the case, really.

The sugar free foods you’ve come to rely on, aren’t doing you any good after all. In particular, research shows that artificially sweetened products can actually drive your sweet  cravings.  In particular, they wreak havoc on your insulin levels, and also destroy gut flora.

Many other chemicals in sugar free goods

Sugar free foods contain artificial sweeteners, that claim to be low or zero calorie. These include soft drinks, chewing gums, baked goods, candy, jams, yogurts, ice creams, and so on.

But if you read the label on many, you will discover that they contain many extra ingredients, used to compensate for the lack of sugar.  Though they’re supposed to trick your brain into feeling satisfied, the reverse happens.

Interfere with your metabolism

Most importantly, artificial sweeteners interfere with your body’s insulin response, since the cells in the stomach lining aren’t equipped to metabolize them.

Then, your body perceives a net calorie deficit (due to it’s inability to recognize artificial sweeteners) and may enter “starvation mode,” and hoard fat. Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners they may even promote weight gain.

Link to cancers and other health issues

In addition, many artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancers and other tumor growths in laboratory mice. Sugar substitutes derived from sugar alcohols (maltitol, sorbitol, erythritol) can erode tooth enamel, and even completely dissolve this. Also, sugar alcohols irritate the bowels and cause diarrhea.

Sugar Substitutes

#1 Aspartame

The most commonly used and popular artificial sweetener, Aspartame is present in thousands of sugar-free products worldwide. This has been given the green light, for now, by the USFDA. This is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and comprises of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. When exposed to air and heat, Aspartame breaks down. In fact, this compound has been linked to various health problems.

A few studies even suggest this compound affects brain and gut health adversely. Also, aspartame is linked to headaches, joint pains, tremors, breathing difficulty, and gastrointestinal discomfort, especially in the elderly and children.

#2 Stevia

A more recently marketed natural sweetener, Stevia is derived from the leaves of a plant native to Paraguay. Touted for it’s healthy properties, this USFDA approved sugar substitute is 30 times sweeter than sugar. So, it’s a popular choice in soft drinks and protein beverages. Although this is probably the safest sugar substitute in the market, it’s also the most expensive.

#3 Splenda/Sucralose

Splenda is the most common type of sucralose. It’s heat resistant property makes it best suited in cereals, baked goods, soft drinks, and desserts. Also, Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar.

But what you may not know, is that it is a chlorinated derivative of sucralose.  And chlorine is used in swimming pools, to disinfect water, and in food products, to extend shelf life. So it clearly isn’t healthy.

#4 Saccharin

Most of you may have forgotten about Saccharin, since it’s been banned in some countries. However, it still sits on supermart shelves here, in the Sweet’N Low brands. Though not as sweet as sucralose, it leaves a metallic aftertaste in the mouth, probably because it breaks down in the body.