Harvard Heart Letter

Sugar substitutes: Just sweet nothings?

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A high-sugar diet may raise heart disease risk. But no-calorie sweeteners aren't ideal alternatives.

If you have a sweet tooth, your heart may be paying the price. Diets high in added sugars have been linked to a host of health woes, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even a higher risk of dying of heart disease.

For most adults, sodas and other sweet beverages are the biggest source of added sugar in their diets. So quaffing a sugar-free diet soda seems like a good substitute, right? Not necessarily, says Dr. Teresa Fung, adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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