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Ask Tufts Experts March 2014 Issue

Q. My physician tells me that I am pre-diabetic, so I am very careful about my sugar and carbohydrate intake. Do artificial sweeteners raise blood-sugar levels?

A. Anastassios G. Pittas, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Tufts Medical Center, responds: “The quick answer is that artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels since they have no caloric value. However, switching to artificially sweetened food and/or beverages to prevent diabetes may not have the desired result, which may be counterintuitive. Artificial sweeteners may ‘mess’ with the areas of the brain that control appetite and satiety and, when used long-term, MAY have the opposite effects than desired.”

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