Published: Thu, July 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Artificial Sweeteners Don't Help People Lose Weight, Study Finds

Artificial Sweeteners Don't Help People Lose Weight, Study Finds

The researchers found that people who routinely used artificial sweeteners gained weight and had higher risks of obesity, high blood pressure and stroke. In addition, people may be eating them unconsciously, in products like yogurt or granola bars.

There are many theories on why artificial sweeteners may not be good for weight loss or health. The group represents the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry. "Taste preferences are an important component of dietary habits, but successful weight management requires a well-rounded strategy".

They compared their findings with 30 long-term, observational studies that followed more than 400,000 participants for periods of 10 to 30 years.

METHODS We searched MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane Library (inception to January 2016) for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated interventions for nonnutritive sweeteners and prospective cohort studies that reported on consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners among adults and adolescents. BMI is a measurement of body fat, based on height and weight.

If you're watching your weight, it seems logical to choose a soft drink made with artificial sweetener (which has few or no calories) over one made with sugar (which is packed with calories) - but research increasingly shows that assumption is flawed.

With the prevalence of anti-sugar campaigns, Azad said more research needs to be done on sugar's substitute. This is how they discovered the link between artificial sweeteners and an increase in waist circumference and weight. In 1965, only three per cent of people were drinking diet soda.

The artificial sweeteners are chemically different than sugar. It's possible that the sweeteners can affect the way your body metabolizes sugar, mess with the good bacteria in your gut, and can even influence your appetite.

After establishing their criteria, and selecting the studies most informative for their review, the team concluded that nonnutritive sweeteners didn't substantially help people in those studies, and in a lot of cases, may have harmed them by causing health adversities.

According to researchers, the use of artificial sweeteners which is widespread and increasing is linked with the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases.

Lauri Wright is an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics with the University of North Florida.

"We don't want to shift people from one bad thing to another bad thing", she said.

Originally developed as an alternative to sugar, artificial sweeteners are used in products such as diet soft drinks and sugar-free candies in an effort to lower sugar intake and combat obesity. She offered this advice: "I'm going to say that you should drink water". "Those kind of factors confound what we are seeing in these observational studies", Wright said.

What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? "I don't think this is something to worry about".

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