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“But if you are thinking that diet soft drinks or artificial or even natural sweeteners are the answer for getting off sugar, think again. Diet drink consumption has increased 400 percent since 1960. It may or may not cause cancer, but the evidence is mounting that it leads to weight gain rather than weight loss. Those who consume diet drinks regularly have a 200 percent increased risk of weight gain, a 36 percent increased risk of pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and a 67 percent increased risk of diabetes. A study of 400 people found that those who drank two diet sodas a day or more increased their waist size by five times.

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“In another alarming study, rats offered the choice of cocaine or artificial sweeteners always picked the artificial sweetener, even if the rats were previously programmed to be cocaine addicts.

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“My advice is to give up stevia, aspartame, sucralose, sugar alcohols like xylitol and malitol, and all of the other heavily-used and marketed sweeteners unless you want to slow down your metabolism, gain weight, and become an addict. Some may be worse than others, like aspartame, which is what we call an excitotoxin, that can cause neurologic symptoms like brain fog, migraines or worse. And some may just give you bad gas because they ferment in your gut, like the sugar alcohols (anything that ends in “ol” like xylitol). Others like stevia, which comes from a South American plant, may be slightly better and could be enjoyed from time to time, but they all keep us yearning for more and more — so our brains get confused, we eat more food and we get fatter. There are ways to cut cravings by naturally balancing your blood sugar.”

-Mark Hyman, MD, “Diet Drinks: Helpful or Harmful to Kick the Sugar Habit?

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