Experts Link Artificial Sweeteners With Obesity and Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

“I think there’s an assumption that when there are zero calories, there is zero harm”, says study author Meghan Azad, an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and child health at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

This study is more extensive, as it put together data from 37 other studies.

The intake of artificial sweeteners like, aspartame, sucralose and stevia have become widespread and increasing.

“There might be adverse effects of these sweeteners and there certainly isn’t strong evidence they’re beneficial”.

Many dieters switch to the sugar substitutes to avoid the calories while still getting their sweet-tooth rush. Quite the contrary, it seems that people who use the sweeteners on a regular basis are more prone to developing health issues although it is not clear whether there is a direct causation involved.

USA consumption of artificial sweeteners has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. In addition, people may be eating them unconsciously, in products like yogurt or granola bars. “Low- and no-calorie sweeteners are among some of the most exhaustively researched ingredients in the world and have been approved as safe for consumption by government regulatory agencies worldwide, including the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]”, says William M. Dermody, the ABA’s vice president of policy. Sweeteners may also alter the microbiome in ways that change metabolism for the worse. “They’re shifting calories to other foods”, Azad explained.

MORE: You Asked: Should I Count Calories? Some researchers also believe that sweeteners may interfere with the body’s mechanisms for metabolizing sugar.

The study found the benefits and drawbacks of sweeteners were conflicting. Do the potential risks of sweeteners outweigh the risks of sugar itself?

The importance of these types of reviews is huge as there are so many people around the globe who use these sweeteners, and a massive portion of those people actually consume them once a day. Among these studies, only 7 were randomized controlled trials (the gold standard in clinical research) and those studies involved 1003 people, who were followed for an average of 6 months. These contain around 10 years’ worth of information collected from over 400,000 participants.

You may want to think twice about consuming artificial sweeteners again, according to a new study that connects them to long-term weight gain, increased obesity risk, and potential health dangers beyond one’s waistline.

Diabetes cropped up in most of the studies, too. And in five studies, those who consumed the greatest amount of nonnutritive sweeteners had a 31-per-cent higher risk of having metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that includes higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels – than those who consumed the least. They were also more likely to suffer from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. In the seven trials, people were randomly assigned to receive the sweetener or not, allowing researchers to compare the two groups and say with some confidence whether the substance caused a benefit or harm.