Why limiting sugar and artificial sweeteners is likely the best choice for your health

ROANOKE, Va. – It's no secret that eating too much sugar can cause health problems, but replacing it with substitutes may create other risks.

Here's why limiting both is likely your best bet.

Sugar cravings are real, which can make eating a healthy diet a real challenge. Too much sugar can contribute to a host of health problems. 

"Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and that's just for starters," said Ellen Kunes, Consumer Reports health editor. "Weight gain that's connected to sugar consumption -- that can cause other health problems. We're talking about high blood pressure, stroke, even some cancers."

Consumer Reports say sugars found in fruits, milk and other whole foods are generally fine. But the trouble really begins with added sugars. 

Added sugars should make up 10 percent or less of your daily caloric intake. That's about 10 teaspoons on a 1,600 calorie-a-day diet. 

Many people turn to low-calorie sweeteners, but some research says they do little to help with weight loss and may actually promote weight gain. They've also been linked to possible heart problems and Type 2 diabetes. 

"If you're trying to get yourself off sugar, substitutes can be a useful tool," said Kunes. "But just for a limited amount of time."  

Your body can get used to a certain level of sweetness, whether it's from real sugar or sugar substitutes. Consumer Reports recommends limiting both. 

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