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Artificial Sweeteners: The Truth
Nutrition + Diet

How Diet Coke Messes With Your Microbiome


January 7, 2016

Beyoncé tells us to drink Diet Pepsi. Taylor Swift tells us to drink Diet Coke. While we may be fans of their music, after reading this New York Times article, their pitch for diet soda falls pretty flat. Essentially, the fake sugar in diet sodas—and in the sweet little pastel packets—confuses your body’s ability to naturally regulate blood sugar levels, which causes a host of problems.

We all have an inkling that artificial sweeteners aren’t great for us, but come on, they’ve been keeping us thin, and so we’ve turned a blind eye. But what if their slimming benefits are really bogus? In fact, what if this stuff is bad for us and is actually making us fat?

Fake Sugars Alter Your Collection of Bacteria

Our tune about pouring those convenient little yellow, blue or pink packages of phony sweetness into our morning tea has become a lot more cautionary. In fact, we’re kicking it altogether, especially after learning that the fake stuff can mess with your microbiome, which is the bacteria in your gut that, when bothered or imbalanced, can cause weight gain, rosacea (yikes, read this for more info on gut health and rosacea), and a host of other problems. Say what?

But Splenda Is Ok, Right?

Both Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke have released new aspartame-free versions, but is that really helping? Um, no. Sucralose, or Splenda, is just the same problem with a different name.

The article explains that after drinking water spiked with aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin, mice “developed a marked intolerance to glucose.” Mice who drank plain water, or water spiked with plain sugar, did not. It was their altered microbiome—a new collection of bacteria working together—that caused the inability to process glucose.

What’s so scary about a glucose intolerance? It means your body can no longer process large amounts of sugar, and that can lead to serious illnesses like metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.

Nothing is as sweet as a healthy body, so let’s all lay off the stuff! For some advice on how to quench your sweet craving, read our guide to natural sugars.

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Learn who the Charlotte’s Book Verified Experts are and how we select them.


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