Equal is aspartame, one of any number of artificial sweeteners. Food authorities have generally approved them as safe but aspartame in particular can be problematic, especially if you have phenylketonuria (PKU) which stops you being able to absorb a particular amino acid that then can build up in your body to nasty levels. Products with aspartame have to carry a warning for people with this condition! Another sweetener that has been linked to nastiness is Saccharine which was linked to bladder cancer in rats. It was almost banned but a couple of studies appeared to counteract the cancer claim. Many experts are still wary though.
The other thing is that one of the mechanisms by which these things work is that your body can't absorb it as well as sugar. The downside to this is that it can cause gas and diarrhea if you have too much
My personal completely totally biased opinion that you should take with a whole truckload of salt: I personally don't use artificial sweeteners because I would rather have smaller amounts of 'real' food than some chemical produced in a laboratory.
Try googling it. My source was http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbea ... 033005.htm
SO getting back to your question... You would be consuming less energy (artificial sweeteners are sweeter so you use less and your body doesn't absorb it as readily) so in the sense that it would help you reduce your caloric intake and therefore hopefully lose weight, it CAN contribute to health. Whether you think it is god for you overall depends on whether you accept the ok given by food authorities and whether you personally think it's ok or not (and it's up to you how much reading you do on the subject). I'm assuming here that you don't have access to a research grant and a couple thousand participants and monitoring GP's for a gold standard study
If you do, let me know when you've finished and I'll have a read!
35kg lost. (November 2005 - October 2006)
15kg gained again (as at October 2010).
Back to the drawing board - Let's do this thing!
"You can't change the winds, but you can change the sails"
"Reach out and take control of what lands in your lap"