As I mentioned in another post, I've read a few articles (that I'll cite when I can dig out the links) stating that things like NutraSweet will actually increase obesity and blood sugar issues. I've had my share of diet drinks. Years ago I remember being thrilled when Equal hit the shelves.
A few years later I was having some major health problems. My migraines were out of control occurring daily and nothing would treat them. Not even narcotics in the ER. I would black out and one episode was for two days. I would pass out and, from what I was told, would have an almost seizure-type event while passed out. Despite the exercise and stretching I was doing, I just couldn't drop weight. I had every test and scan and nothing showed as being too out of the ordinary. Finally, a doctor asked me how much Aspartame I was consuming. He explained Aspartame was the chemical that's labeled as Equal. I told him how much I loved the stuff because I didn't have to use sugar and it was terrific. He told me to stop. Suggested that if I had to have soda to drink regular, old soda. Suggested that I make things like lemonade using honey if I was that adverse to sugar, things like that.
So I went home and put the Equal in the back of the pantry. I couldn't bring myself to throw out my new best friend. Within about a week I was feeling better. I still had migraines but they were not only manageable, some I could totally get rid of with some simple, non-medicinal steps. I had no more episodes of blacking out, no more passing out, almost everything went to normal. In the end, I have some residual issues but nothing like what I was having when I was married to Equal. The doctor felt that all of the issues were caused by an allergy/sensitivity to the chemical that developed over time.
Even nasty refined sugar is more healthy than these additives and artificial sweeteners. My husband deals with blood sugar issues. He was drinking diet Coke and would munch in the evenings on sugary sweets. His munching was part habit and part cravings. I convinced him to stop the diet drinks for 30 days, to drink less soda but make it regular, nasty soda - though we did do some sugar and cane sweetened as much as we could - and to see how he felt. His cravings for sugar at night went down, his blood sugar dropped drastically, the cravings that he did start to have were for complex carbs versus sugar carbs.
Oddly enough, there is talk that Equal will be allowed to be labeled as "natural" in the near future.