PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --What makes your oatmeal, pancake syrup and desserts sweet? For a small but growing number of us, it's not sugar.
Low-calorie sweeteners - from our coffee, to our cereal and yogurt, they're everywhere. And a new study says Americans' consumption is on the rise.
Researchers at George Washington University looked at CDC data from 2009 to 2012. The results suggest we're eating more of these artificial, low-calorie sweeteners, with the number of adults saying they consumed these products up over 50 percent. And among kids the consumption doubling.
The study points to other trends as well. Those who are obese are reaching for more artificially sweetened products than those who are not. Women are also more likely to satisfy their sweet tooth with these low or no-calorie options.
So is this rising pattern of consumption a problem? Not necessarily. With the emphasis on cutting added sugar from our diets, for many Americans it is an attractive alternative.
But with some pointing to evidence that diet sodas and other products don't necessarily entail healthier eating, it could be a reminder, especially to parents, that when it comes to teaching kids about a healthy diet, just swapping the sweetener is no silver bullet.
For children and teenagers, it's better in the long run for them to slowly reduce the amount of sugary drinks and processed food. And start to replace it with healthier options like water, fruits and vegetables.