When it comes to artificial sweeteners, there has been a long running debate as to whether they are helpful or might cause harm. Many dieters and diabetics purchase these zero calorie beverages and snacks to avoid weight gain and spikes in blood sugar levels, but could they be promoting the opposite?

A new study evaluating the effects of artificial sweeteners suggests they may actually lead to the development of diabetes and obesity. The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, concluded that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame, among others, interfere with gut bacteria that could cause individuals to develop glucose intolerance, leading to elevated blood sugar levels, a prime symptom in diabetes. Researchers also discovered several associations between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Find out more about this eye-opening study and how artificial sweeteners may be negatively affecting your health in this article.