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Artificial Sweeteners Linked With Weight Gain & Other Health Issues

S u m m a r y :
Artificial sweeteners might be linked with weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease, among others, suggests a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Artificial Sweeteners Are Bad News

From aspartame to sucralose and stevia, consumers are attracted to them because of the promise they come with: avoid the negative effects of real sugar (like weight gain) while also having foods that are sweet. However, an increasing body of research is describing artificial sweeteners as bad news. The new study shows long-term associations with conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure (BP), and heart disease.

Harmful To Your Heart

A team of researchers from University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation aimed at finding out whether the consumption of artificial sweeteners was linked with harmful, long-term effects on weight and the heart. They conducted a review based on 37 studies involving over 400,000 participants, with the data gathered over an average of 10 years.

Artificial sweeteners Do Not Help With Weight Management

It was found that the findings of the studies displayed no consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss when these products are advertised as being beneficial to losing weight.

However, the researchers did spot a link between the consumption of such sweeteners and higher risks of gaining weight, and thus of obesity, high BP, diabetes, heart disease, and several other health problems.

Study author Ryan Zarychanski explains that the clinical trials do not give a clear idea of the alleged benefits of artificial sweeteners on weight management. According to him, only few patients have been involved in clinical trials of these products in spite of the fact that millions of people consume them.

Practise Caution

Lead author Meghan Azad, therefore, recommends caution “until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized”.

“Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products,” said Azad.

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