Health Advice



Not so sweet results from sweet alternatives

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

A wolf in sheep's clothing is an ancient cautionary tale. One form of the saying appears in the Bible, although the story is often credited to Aesop. Well, welcome to the 21st-century version of the fable: Some non-nutritive sweeteners, which promise all the pleasures of sugary flavor without the sugar, are actually hiding their nasty potential!

Research published in Cell looked at the impact of artificial sweeteners on 120 healthy adults over 29 days. It reveals that saccharin and sucralose increase blood sugar levels by triggering changes in the composition and function of gut microbes and the molecules they secrete into your peripheral blood.

Fake sweeteners' effects vary from person to person because of the unique composition of each individual's microbiome. Nonetheless, anyone with prediabetes or diabetes -- or, who wants to avoid those health risks -- should monitor how their blood sugar levels respond to beverages, syrups and foods sweetened with sugar substitutes.

Your best bet: Instead of opting for "diet" beverages, stick with water, black coffee and green or black tea. When it comes to "treats" that are artificially sweetened? They're mostly made from highly processed, inflammatory carbs that create additional health woes -- so stick with fresh fruits that don't spike your glucose level.

Bonus: There may be good news on the alternative sugars and sugar-substitutes allulose, trehalose and leaf stevia. Tune into my "YOU the Owner's Manual podcast 1116A" to be released on Sept. 27 ( or iHeart radio) to hear about how you can use these and avoid ill effects.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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