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Hello again from Cooking Light and welcome to Day 6 of the challenge. You’re nearly halfway through. Keep up the good work—and if you fell off the bandwagon, don’t sweat it, just hop back on and finish up the challenge with us!

Today we’re talking about artificial sweeteners, which sweeten sugar-free beverages such as diet soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks, and also pop up in some candy, yogurt, bread, and microwave popcorn. They sweeten foods without adding any calories, which is what has made them increasingly popular—you can have your lower calorie sweets and eat them, too!

But more recently, studies have made us question the safety and healthfulness of artificial sweeteners. Some research suggests that they may cause cancer, type 2 diabetes, or a reverse effect from their intended use—weight gain.

Seasoned experts, however, point out that those studies were done in animals (mice and rats) and that doesn’t mean the findings are directly applicable to humans. However, you might still want to tread cautiously: artificial sweeteners are super sweet, much more so than table sugar, and that could really ramp up your sweet tolerance by dulling your tastebuds, and lead you to needing more sweet, sugary items in the future to satiate that sweet tooth.

Bottom line? While you’re scaling back on added sugars, it's best to nix the artificial sweeteners too. The goal is to help reset your sweet tooth and lower your tolerance for all things sweet—so you can get more enjoyment out of a little of the real stuff.

Want to read more about artificial sweeteners? Check out this article.

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