Could artificial sweeteners cause weight gain?

Think that choosing "diet" soda is a healthier choice? Potentially not. In a studypublished in April this year researchers revealed that, contradictory to previous studies, artificial sweeteners may be metabolized in the body, ultimately causing weight gain! 

Here's the gist of it: college freshman who participated in the study and demonstrated significant weight gain around the central part of their body over their first year in college had 15 times higher levels of erythritol in their blood. Erythritol is a sugar substitute, low-calorie sweetener (aka. artificial sweetener) found in some sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and other low-calorie, diet products. It was previously thought by researchers that erythritol was not metabolized in humans, however, by using cool sciencey things to label different molecules, these researchers showed that it actually IS metabolized (from glucose to erythritol in the body). 

This isn't the only study like this. Even Harvard University's School of Public Health recognizes that the science isn't solid when it comes to artificial sweeteners. In an article on their website, they highlight evidence that artificial sweeteners could, like sugar, contribute to weight gain and the host of chronic illnesses that come along with excess weight including diabetes, heart disease, sleep disorders and even some cancers. 

So skip the diet products. Instead, use honey, maple syrup, or stevia (a herb) to add a little sweetness to your life.