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

Fat man

Fat man

It's sugar-free and has no calories.

The findings can be found published online in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). 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. Seven of them were randomized trials, covering about 1,000 people, and the rest were observational studies that tracked the health and habits of nearly 406,000 people over time.

"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", Azad said. But they are more likely to gain weight than sugar, plus they are unsafe for health, scientists say.

"Obesity is a major public health challenge that contributes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease", Meghan B. Azad, PhD, from George & Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation, University of Manitoba, Canada, and colleagues wrote. "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. Some researchers speculate that the sweeteners interfere with a person's microbiome, a collection of gut bacteria crucial for the absorption of nutrients.

Other hypotheses suggest they promote a preference for sweetness, leading to further consumption of sweet foods and beverages, or may lead people to indulge in other ways.

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Another possibility is that our bodies have evolved to metabolize sugars in a way that's triggered not by calories or the sugar molecule but by the perception of sweet taste.

David Ma, a professor in the department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, said "it is important to note, the study selectively assessed risk comparing extreme intakes of nonnutritive sweeteners".

However, it's possible this evidence review is blaming artificial sweeteners for health problems attributable to an otherwise poor diet or other unhealthy lifestyle choices, countered the Calorie Control Council.

Adults who have at least one diet drink a day are three times more at risk from a stroke or dementia, research showed in April. Seven of the studies were randomized controlled trials, a type considered to be the gold standard in scientific research. These contain around 10 years' worth of information collected from over 400,000 participants.

"We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management".

Scientists out of the University of Manitoba are warning that they may be tied to long-term weight gain, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

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