The lowdown on low-calorie sweeteners

If you're addicted to sweet, bubbly beverages, diet sodas are a better choice than sugary ones. But try switching to healthier options.


Image: © NoDerog/Getty Images

Despite the abundance of added sugar in America's food supply, our love affair with sugary drinks has been waning over the past decade or so.

"In adults, we've seen a 25% drop in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and I think this trend will continue, given the heightened awareness of the harmful effects of excess sugar," says Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Sugary drinks (such as sodas, sports drinks, and lemonade) are the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet and are widely considered to be among the main drivers of the obesity epidemic. A high-sugar diet also has been linked to increasing rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which contribute to heart disease.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »