Can artificial sweeteners be a replacement for table sugar in diabetics?

Artificial sweeteners claim to have a low calorie or sugar count and hence may seem like a heaven for diabetic people but are they? Some of the artificial sweeteners include Stevia, coconut sugar, date palm sugar, sugar alcohols like Xylitol or Erythritol, Acesulfame, Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine, etc.


Artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than normal sugars and hence only a little amount of it is required to sweeten up our foods. This might be the reason of artificial sweeteners having fewer caloric counts as they are used in smaller amounts compared to normal sugar.

What does sweeteners do?

Sweeteners are used by diabetics as a replacement for normal sugars. As it is used in meager amounts, it doesn’t affect the blood sugar levels as much. There has to be much research though that has to be conducted in this area on whether artificial sweeteners can be safely used. Many people mistakenly assume sweeteners to have lower caloric count and hence think it is okay to use it in large amounts. Sweeteners can increase cravings for sweet foods and the person may end up consuming more sweeteners than recommended amounts. A 2010 study published in Pubmed also supported this statement. According to the study, artificial sweeteners failed to activate food reward pathways in a way that natural sugars do. This can encourage sugar dependence.

Contrasting studies are present too. According to a 2002 study, overweight subjects who consumed sucrose had higher energy intake, blood pressure and fat mass compared to the subjects that consumed artificial sweeteners.


Some studies also equate sweeteners with weight gain. It may also alter gut microbiota which helps in weight regulation.

Sugar alcohols like xylitol can raise blood sugar as well. A 2016 study also observed that normal-weight individuals who consumed sweeteners experienced increased blood sugar levels compared to overweight or obese people. Side effects like diarrhea, bloating, gas issues can also be experienced in some people.

Many studies also link artificial sweeteners to cancer though yet again contrasting studies have come up refuting these claims.

What can we conclude from this?

More studies have to be conducted for finding out the efficacy of these sweeteners. Sweeteners might pose some health risks too. The negative health effects experienced might vary depending on person to person. That said, it is important to consult a proper health professional before including them in your diet.

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