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A spoonful of artificial sweetener sitting on a white ceramic trayAre artificial sweeteners such as Equal, Sweet’N Low, Splenda, and Truvia, causing you to lose or gain weight?

A new study published this month in the journal Appetite revealed that when rats were given the synthetic sweeteners saccharin and aspartame, compared to sucrose (table sugar), they gained more weight even at similar total caloric intake levels.

The researchers set out to experimentally confirm the suggestion that the use of non nutritive sweeteners can lead to weight gain, noting that “evidence regarding their real effect on body weight and hunger satisfaction is still inconclusive.”

Sweet trap

Most Americans know that consuming too much sugar leads to health problems, specifically diabetes and obesity. That’s because dietary sugar — and that includes table sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, honey, agave syrup and the like — turns to glucose quickly in the blood. If that energy source isn’t burned right away, it gets stored in the cells as fat.

Sugar in the blood — which comes from eating not just sugar but also starches — stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Because many Americans consume way more of these foods than their bodies are designed to handle, many have developed insulin resistance.

As a result, metabolic syndrome — which leads to heart disease, diabetes and obesity — is at an all-time high in America.

In theory, fake sugar would seem like a great way to beat the system. After all, artificial sweeteners don’t raise blood sugar, so they do help those with diabetes.

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