Mixing artificial sweetener and carbs has 'problematic' health effects

A new study out of Yale University has potentially found the reason for conflicting results from past research on artificial sweeteners and their impact on metabolism in humans. Some of these studies had found that consuming artificial sweeteners increased one's risk of developing obesity and type-2 diabetes, whereas others found weight loss benefits without those downsides. Carbohydrates, it turns out, may play a role in which outcome is experienced.

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose are a popular zero calorie sugar-alternative used by diabetics and people attempting to lose weight. These sweeteners have proven controversial over the years, though some of the worries have been rooted in paranoia, not science. Studies on these sweeteners have provided conflicting information, with some suggesting these sweeteners are beneficial and others finding metabolic risk.

According to the new study out of Yale, whether the sweetener had a negative effect on metabolism likely depended on whether it was consumed with carbohydrates. The team found that sucralose consumed by itself in a beverage didn't produce any negative health effects.

However, the same sweetener resulted in 'problematic' effects on neural response and metabolism when consumed with a carbohydrate. The findings indicate that using sucralose to sweeten your plain tea or coffee, for example, may be harmless, but using it to sweeten food like a sugar-free dessert or yogurt could result in health consequences.

The study's senior author Dana Small said:

The bottom line is that, at least in small quantities, individuals can safely drink a diet soda, but they shouldn't add French fries. This is important information, particularly for people with diabetes who shouldn't consume sugars.