A growing body of evidence further links artificial sweeteners to weight gain and other negative health effects, as scientists continue to evaluate the impact of zero-calorie sugar substitutes and its routine consumption.
Researchers found that nonnutritive sweeteners — like aspartame, sucralose and stevioside — associated with an increase in weight and waist circumference, higher incidences of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events.
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.
In the most recent study, researchers analyzed 37 studies comprising 400,000 subjects and conducted by researchers associated with the University of Manitoba. Their results were published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Evidence from these studies does not support the “intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management,” the author’s wrote in their interpretation, adding that “observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.”
The latest report is one of the largest analyses looking at the negative health effects of zero-calories sweeteners.
In April, researchers from George Washington University presented preliminary data linking sweeteners to weight gain, in particular demonstrating how the sweeteners disrupt a person’s metabolism.
“Many health-conscious individuals like to consume low-calorie sweeteners as an alternative to sugar. However, there is increasing scientific evidence that these sweeteners promote metabolic dysfunction,” said Dr. Sabyasachi Sen, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at George Washington University.
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