Artificial sweeteners have been getting beaten up in recent media coverage, as research links them with the very issues they are trying to treat: diabetes and obesity.

The sugar substitutes at hand are commonly known as saccharin, aspartame and sucralose.

What do studies say?

According to Men's Health the compiled data is nothing to scoff at: "A San Antonio heart study, which followed 3,600 adults for eight years, found that sedentary people who consumed one or more diet sodas per day had a 50 percent higher risk of becoming overweight or obese."

Another study produced significant results of doubling metabolic syndrome with diet soda intake.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity that together increase a persons risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

What's the connection?

It is thought that consuming artificial sweeteners may interrupt the normal bodily processes that happen when something sweet is consumed. When real sugar is eaten and not artificial sweeteners the body becomes confused,

With diet drinks blamed for causing disease instead of helping them, perhaps sticking with a natural and affordable beverage – water – is the answer.