A common question among diabetics is whether or not they should use artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners have almost no calorie count, and it’s a treat for diabetics. But studies show that artificial sweeteners are bad for diabetics.

The use of these sugar substitutes have been linked to obesity and diabetes.

The bright side is that there are other sugar substitutes you can choose from like Stevia, Tagatose, Monk Fruit Extract, Coco Sugar, Date Sugar, and sugar alcohols like xylitol.

With these, you still need to watch your blood glucose levels, but they’re better than products that are labeled as sugar-free.


White sugar on a spoon.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Stevia is a sweetener that has really low calories. It has antioxidant properties that help prevent diabetes. It’s also been approved by the FDA.

Stevia will suppress your plasma glucose levels unlike sugar, and will increase your glucose tolerance. It’s also a natural sweetener, if you get down to it. It’s from the leaves of a stevia plant.

Stevia has the ability to increase your insulin production, make the effect of insulin on your cell membranes better, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and counter the complications and mechanics of type 2 diabetes.

There are stevia brands like Pure Via, Truvia, Sweet Leaf, and Sun Crystals.

So count your lucky stars if you don’t have diabetes yet, drink your milk tea while you still can.

The brands mentioned though are highly processed and have many additional ingredients in them. Truvia, for example, undergoes 40 processing steps before it’s ready to market.

The great way to enjoy Stevia is to grow it yourself and use the leaves as your sweetener.


Tagatose is another natural sugar that researchers study. Studies show that tagatose is an antidiabetic and anti-obesity medication. It lowers blood sugar and insulin response and interferes with carbohydrate absorption.

2018 studies show that Tagatose is a powerful sweetener without the harmful effects sweeteners have.

However, more studies on Tagatose are needed.

Other Sweetener Options

Monk fruit extract is a great alternative that’s showing great promise. But if you want to sweeten your drinks, there’s nothing quite like natural whole fruit flavors to liven up your drinks.

Date sugar is another sweetener option, made from whole, dried, and ground dates.

The Bad Side of Artificial Sweeteners

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Many artificial sweeteners will label themselves as diabetic-friendly or sugar-free, but studies show that these products aren’t exactly healthy for diabetics.

Our bodies respond to artificial sweeteners the same way with regular sugar. Consuming these will tell your body to eat more sweet foods.

Artificial sweeteners also raise glucose levels. A study showed that people who ate a lot of artificial sweeteners were likely to get diabetes.

Sugars like saccharin changes your gut bacteria composition and your glucose intolerance, the first step in metabolic syndrome and adult diabetes.

A box full of various chocolate bars
Photo by Denny Müller / Unsplash

Artificial sweeteners also add to weight gain.

One of the most common indicators for diabetes is obesity and being overweight. It doesn’t follow that artificial sweeteners are healthy because they’re FDA approved.

The Center for Science in the Public interest label artificial sweeteners as products to avoid.

Sugar alcohols that are found in sugar-free products can be misleading. FDA approved sugar alcohols are erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, lactitol, isomalt, and maltitol. These are synthetic. While these are great replacements for sugar, they don’t contribute to weight loss.


Studies show that artificial sweeteners aren’t healthy alternatives for sugar. It will also increase your risk for diabetes, weight gain, and glucose intolerance.

Stevia leaves are a great substitute for sugar. It’s natural, it’s healthy, and it’s popularly studied as being antidiabetic.

You can buy brand names if you want to skip the hassle. Examples are Truvia and Sweet Leaf.

The more you eat sweeteners, the more you crave for sweets, and you could run the risk of contracting diabetes.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in