Health: How Safe Are the Sugar Substitutes?

Artificial sweeteners are more popular than ever--but questions persist

The American dream may be home ownership, but the American obsession is losing a few pounds. Artificial sweeteners are a big part of that quest: on average, each of us downs more than 20 lbs. of fake sugars a year. That raises two important questions: Are they safe? And do they help you lose weight?

The safety issue first arose in the '60s, when cyclamates were banned as likely carcinogens. Saccharin, which is found in Sweet'n Low, was labeled a possible carcinogen in the early '70s and had to carry a warning until 2000. Products with aspartame (NutraSweet) have always been...

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