If you are the hopeful, "never say die" sort of person who consumes artificial sweeteners in your diet in order to lower your sugar intake, allow me to inform you that you may have been accomplishing the opposite of what you wanted, all this time. Burn.

I'm just going to come right out and report this to you in the somber tone of a real news-man: a new study coming out in Nature found that consuming artificial sweeteners may actually raise your blood sugar. Once again: consuming fake sugar may actually raise your blood sugar levels, giving you diabetes and whatever the hell other horrible diseases that go along with it. Don't take it from me; take it from a professional science writer employed by the respected Wall Street Journal:

Dr. Elinav and his colleagues examined the relationship between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and various metabolic measurements in some 380 non-diabetic people. They found that the bacteria colonies in the guts of those who regularly consumed sweetener-based foods were notably different from those who didn't. In addition, there was a correlation between sweetener consumption and a susceptibility to glucose intolerance, which is a disturbance in the blood glucose level.

Correlation, however, doesn't necessarily mean causation. In the next experiment, seven volunteers who normally didn't consume sweetener-based foods were asked to consume products high in sweeteners. After four days, four of them had significantly higher blood sugar levels as well as altered populations of bacteria in their gut—an outcome similar to what had been observed in mice.

Of course it is too early to "leap to any conclusions" based upon these findings. But if you were going to leap to any conclusion, here's the one you would leap to: you been drinking all that Diet Coke and eating all those nasty Snackwells cookies for years thinking that you were avoiding becoming obese and diabetic when in fact you were just contributing to becoming obese and diabetic because, news flash, there's no free lunch in this world—particularly not a lunch flavored with the sickly nerve gas flavor of aspartame or saccharin. Did you really think that you could sidestep nature and common sense and be able to consume chemical-laden garbage and not have it come back to bite you right in the insulin, somehow or other? The only way to "get over" in this world is through hard work, persistence, and then more hard work, even though that is the last thing you want to see after a day of hard work. Sorry.

All was for naught.

[Photo: Flickr]