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Dr. Oz: Artificial sweetener risks, slimming snack swaps, health books

Find out about the dangers of Equal and Splenda from Dr. Oz.
Find out about the dangers of Equal and Splenda from Dr. Oz.
Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sweet'n'low pink, Splenda yellow and Equal blue packets have replaced sugar in many homes and restaurants. But are all those artificial sweeteners contributing to the epidemic of obesity? On his March 10 talk show, Dr. Mehmet Oz warned about the dangers of the three most popular sugar substitutes. Plus: Discover Dr. Oz's recommendations for new health books and learn about the best diet snack swaps to boost your weight loss, including swaps for ice cream and potato chips.

Whether you go with saccharin (pink packets), aspartame (blue packets) or sucralose (yellow packets), Dr. Oz cautions that you're putting your health at risk. Among the dangers of artificial sweeteners:

  • Weight gain
  • Hormone problems
  • GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

How artificial sweeteners cause weight gain: The sweetness affects your taste buds, causing you to long for more and more sugary foods. Moreover, some studies have shown that sugar substitutes are linked to the development of new fat cells. In addition, naturally sweet foods such as fruit may lose their appeal because you are so accustomed to extremely sweet foods. The result: You crave fattening foods, consuming more artificially sweetened foods than if you had just eaten one item with regular sugar.

Dr. Oz noted that he only recently discovered about GMOs in some artificial sweeteners. Because the long-term health impacts of GMOs are unknown, he recommends avoiding all genetically modified foods.

So what can you use? Dr. Oz suggests stevia, which is natural rather than artificial. The brand name is Truvia Natural Sweetener. But be sure to read the label: Choose products with pure stevia rather than fillers. In addition, after you have detoxed from artificial sweeteners, foods such as apples and oranges will taste sweet again.

In addition, Dr. Oz discussed how desires for fattening treats such as ice cream and potato chips can derail you from your diet determination. Dr. Oz suggests these slimming snack swaps:

  • Replace ice cream with frozen strawberries and bananas mixed together. You can either mash them together by hand or use a product such as Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker.
  • Replace fried potato chips with baked tortilla chips.
  • Replace doughnuts, which can contain up to 400 calories each, with 100-calorie muffin tops.

What's on your bookshelf? Dr. Oz recommended three upcoming health books: