Dangers of artificial sweeteners confirmed

Artificial Sweeteners In Diet Fizzy Drinks May Be Making You Gain Weight

In fact, the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, are used to make numerous most popular soft drinks and according to researchers, consumption of them is widespread and increasing.

"It might be a good idea to avoid [artificial sweeteners]", Dr. Meghan Azad, a University of Manitoba professor and the study's lead author, told Global News.

While those who are obese were trying to use the artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners as part of weight-loss program, Azad found no consistent benefits in helping the needle go down on the scale or slimming the waist.

The Canadian team looked at 37 studies involving more than 400,000 people over an average of ten years. As it turns out, this theory is not correct after all, or at least, it is not as simple as we thought it was.

A number of government and health bodies recommend the use of artificial sweeteners as sugar replacements to help cut calories, aid in weight loss and manage diabetes.

Thirty of the studies were observational, which have a greater risk of bias because artificial sweetener use is not randomly assigned and people who choose to consume sweeteners may be different from those who don't, in terms of socioeconomic, lifestyles and health-related factors.

In the CMAJ study, the researchers examined seven randomized control trials, which followed participants for an average of six months.

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Previous research explored an association among artificial sweeteners, obesity, and diabetes.

But surely a diet pop is a wiser choice than regular pop?

Numerous clinical trials this study drew on didn't align closely with the way people consume such sweeteners in the real world - for instance, trials generally give subjects diet soda or sweetener capsules, while ignoring other sources, such as food.

Another issue with these studies is that they do not accurately represent how people use sweeteners in their real lives, due to the shortness of the studies.

NIH pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Kristina Rother, who wasn't involved in the study, said it is a strong piece of work that highlights the need for more and better-designed studies on low-calorie sweeteners.

For example, a person drinking a no-calorie soda might feel free to eat calorie-laden foods, Azad noted.

The neurologists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, conducted a series of studies to establish the impact on health of artificial sweeteners. Jane Shearer, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Calgary who is studying these sweeteners, notes the number of products that contain sugar substitutes has grown significantly in Canada in the past five years, with energy drinks, no-sugar-added ice creams, yogurt and even some bread products.

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