Artificial sweeteners may not be risk free

Artificial sweeteners may not be risk free

Not only that, CMAJ said medical research shows that "consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners was associated with increases in weight and waist circumference, and higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events".

Artificial sweeteners don't do anything for weight loss, a new review states, contradicting the theory that using these gives the same sweetness as sugar, but without the added calories.

Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing, according to researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada. Importantly, there is not a single published randomised controlled trial, the gold standard in nutrition research, that has shown that low calorie sweeteners use can lead to weight gain or any negative health effect. But that's not how they're typically used, she says.

The study found the benefits and drawbacks of sweeteners were conflicting.

"I think the takeaway for Canadians at this point is to maybe think twice about whether you really want to be consuming these artificial sweeteners, particularly on an everyday basis", Azad said, "because really we don't have evidence to say for sure whether these are truly harmless alternatives to sugar".

INTERPRETATION Evidence from RCTs does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.

For their review, Azad and her colleagues weeded through more than 11,000 published studies, narrowing their review down to seven clinical trials and 30 long-term studies. Some of the trials, for example, compared people who drank artificially sweetened beverages to people who drank water.




When you don't get that calorie surge, your body may feel less satisfied-triggering our appetites and possibly prompting us to search for more substantial food.

However, the use of sweetener did not prevent this result, and did not limit the ability to lose weight. "And we found at least some evidence that they do the opposite". Researchers wanted to look more broadly at what's going on by doing a large-scale analysis of dozens of studies on low-calorie sweeteners.

Nonnutritive sweeteners may also alter the body's response to sweetness over time, changing the way it metabolizes actual sugar, says Susan Swithers, a professor in the department of psychological sciences at Purdue University in Indiana.

"Portion control works, diets in general - lean protein, high fruits, vegetables, watching the sugar - those work", Ashton said. In fact, the dosages used in the 2005 study, if applied to human subjects, would have required the equivalent of a daily intake of over 2000 cans of diet drinks, a dosage which, in humans, is too unrealistic to be considered a legitimate health risk.

Azad suggests that consumers who turn to artificial sweeteners on the assumption that they're a healthier choice should to be cautious.

"The caution that the long-term effects of sweeteners are well understood", she stated through a press.

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