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Sugar or artificial sweeteners: What a new study shows

There are changes constantly to the health recommendations surrounding artificial sweeteners and sugar, and a new study hopes to provide some clarity.

YORK, Pa. — If you're anything like me, you love that first cup of coffee in the morning to taste as good as it smells. It's been well documented that consuming too much sugar is bad for our health.  Artificial sweeteners have been used as a substitute, but also deemed, for the most part, not any healthier.  So what do we do?  Luckily, a new study out of the Ohio State University Wexner medical center offers a little bit of clarity that could help you make a more informed decision.

Researchers gave a group of healthy adults the maximum recommended amount of the artificial sweetener, saccharin, for 2 weeks.  They said they expected to see that the substance can cause adverse health effects, even in a very short period of time.  To their surprise, though, the results showed no negative changes in gut health. 

The findings should give consumers peace of mind that saccharin doesn't drive the development of diabetes in healthy adults as once thought and is a healthier option than sugar, which is well documented to contribute to diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  (Click below for the full study report.)

That being said, one health and wellness expert we talked to, isn't completely sold on the study results.

"What we don't know is if this applies to other sugar substitutes like Splenda, plus this research doesn't look at whether there's health effects from using the sugar substitute for a long period of time," said Dr. David Geier.

Researchers at the medical center say they plan on finding the answers to those questions next.  So for now, Dr. Geier says just like in everything else, moderation is key.

And hey, if you're still not sure which sweetener is best for your coffee, you could always forget about the coffee all together and opt for water instead.  It may not have caffeine in it, but at least it's free!

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