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Swapping sugar for sweeteners can decrease your risk of obesity and help you manage diabetes, experts say

Did you know that in Australia, one person is diagnosed with diabetes every five minutes? That's nearly 300 new diabetics every single day.

These statistics come from the Australian Diabetes Council and are being released as part of Diabetes Awareness Week, which runs from July 8 through to July 14.

The week aims to improve people's understanding of the disease, as well as encourage everyone to do what they can to prevent themselves from becoming another statistic.

According to Diabetes Australia, one of the main risk factors of developing diabetes is being overweight or obese.

With its new campaign 'Lets Prevent Diabetes', the organisation is encouraging people to make better lifestyle choices, including eating a nutritional diet and doing more physical activity, so that they can maintain a healthy weight.

Two American establishments suggest that one way of doing this is by swapping sugar in your diet for an alternative such as Stevia.

A joint release from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association outlined how using a sugar replacement may decrease your risk of obesity and help you manage diabetes.

"While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat," associate professor of medicine at Stanford University in California Christopher Gardner said in a statement on July 9.

"Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes," he added.

Mr Gardner also went on to advise people that this strategy only works if you do not replace the calories you avoid with sweeteners such as Stevia extract elsewhere in your diet.

"For example, if you choose a beverage sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners instead of a 150-calorie soft drink, but then reward yourself with a 300-calorie slice of cake or cookies later in the day, non-nutritive sweeteners are not going to help you control your weight because you added more calories to your day than you subtracted," he said.

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