People often ask my opinion about diet sodas. Many see them as a harmless substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages. Others are deeply distrustful of the artificial sweeteners they contain -- and there are plenty of scary rumors circulating on the Internet to bolster these suspicions.
Sweeteners condition our taste buds to want more sweet. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar triggers your brain and body to want sugar most of the time. If your blood sugar dips down, your body gets a signal to eat more sugar. It's almost as if your system has been hijacked.
The safety of aspartame -- the artificial sweetener sold under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet -- has been the subject of many studies over the years. But despite all the hype about controversy, there is no aspartame controversy.
When man tampered with nature and uncoupled the sweetness sensory signal from caloric load, a pairing that we adjusted to for thousands of generations, our capacity to know when we had enough was eradicated.