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Get Sweetener Savvy: The Need-to-Know Facts

If you're making the switch from table sugar to a low-cal artificial sweetener, the bevy of options can be overwhelming and totally misleading. We got the scoop on what's really in those little packets, as well as some common misconceptions. (Hint: They don't all help you lose weight!)
sugar packet Sugar vs. Sweeteners

It's no secret -- large quantities of sugar can harm the body in many ways, from causing inflammation to increasing the chance of developing obesity and coronary heart disease, which is why the American Heart Association recommends that the average American (AHA) limit their intake of added sugar to 5 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. But the artificial stuff isn't necessarily better for you.

For starters, many of the sugar substitutes found in diet foods and beverages are jam-packed with chemicals, which can put a strain on your immune system. "When we ingest these chemicals, our bodies need to work extra hard to metabolize them, leaving less resources to detoxify our bodies from the many chemicals we get exposed to in the environment," says Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, physician and nutrition adviser for Equinox.