Every year, each American consumes more than his fair share of sugar -- about 150 pounds (68 kilograms) of it. And about 29 pounds (13 kilograms) of that is table sugar -- the granulated kind, which is also called sucrose [source: Casey]. Some comes from honey, maple syrup or fructose (which is naturally found in fruits), but many of us also have a bad sugar substitute habit.
There are five artificial sweeteners, also called non-nutritive sweeteners, that the FDA considers safe for humans to eat: acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K), aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose [source: USDA]. Some sugar substitutes may leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, literally, but that's not the only thing bad about them. While we love our artificial sweeteners because they're zero or low-calorie, we really don't know how bad they are for us. There have been some confusing claims over the last few decades, but at the end of the day, these sugar-free sweeteners may be significantly increasing your risk of health problems such as weight gain as well as metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease [source: Scutti].