In 2004, 180 million Americans bought sugar-free products, and in 2005, low-sugar packaged items were the second fastest growing segment in the "health food" industry, just behind organics. But more and more people are questioning the efficacy of artificial sweeteners.
Some researchers believe that artificial sweeteners may actually inhibit dieting efforts. In a 2004 study, when rats were fed artificially sweetened liquids, they lost their ability to moderate their intake of foods containing real sugar.
Just Too SweetOthers speculate that artificial sweeteners have helped set the American diet at too high a level of sweetness. This has resulted in sugar or artificial sweeteners being put into nearly everything we eat, including peanut butter, soups, and other foods which are not traditionally sweet.