Artificial Sweetener Side Effects May Include Weight Gain, Other Health Issues: Study
New research suggests that widely used artificial sweeteners, such as NutraSweet, Equal, Stevia, Splenda and others, may actually cause a person to gain weight, instead of lose it, and increase their risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other health issues.
The findings of a study published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that while artificial sweeteners are commonly used to help people diet and lose weight, the products may be causing people to pack on the pounds.
Researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation conducted a review of 37 studies, following more than 400,000 people. Studies included seven randomized control trials and 30 cohort observational studies. Overall, the findings of the review were conflicting. The randomized control trials indicated artificial sweeteners had no consistent effect on weight gain. However, research taken from the 30 observational studies linked artificial sweeteners to modest increases in weight gain. Ultimately, no study linked the products to reduced weight gain.
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Artificial sweeteners are made using sugar substitutes, like aspartame, saccharin, Sucralose and stevia. They include brand name products like, Equal, Sweet and Low, Splenda and Truvia. Consumers use these sweeteners, or buy products made with these sweeteners, like Diet Coke, to avoid weight gain or help lose weight.
The cohort studies indicated a link between artificial sweeteners and increased waist circumference, higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events.
Researchers say that while the findings of the study are not definitive and do not show a cause and effect relationship, the study indicates zero calorie sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.
Millions of people consume artificial sweeteners, which include Equal, Splenda and Truvia; yet few clinical trials focus on the effects of those products.
Use of these products has increased by 200 percent between 1999 and 2012. More than 40 percent of Americans use some type of artificial sweetener product on a regular basis. While once relegated to low-calorie beverages, companies are increasingly adding artificial sweeteners to food products as well, such as salad dressings and sauces.
Many warn that the products may pose more harm than good. Anecdotal studies have linked Equal to increased risk of fibromyalgia and widespread body pain and fatigue.
There were some limitations to the new study. The sweeteners weren’t studied separately, comparing one type to the other. The clinical trials included smaller groups of people, with shorter study periods. They were often focused on obese people trying to lose weight. The cohort studies were longer studies, with larger groups, and observed people in their natural environments.
GaryJuly 19, 2017 at 5:30 am
I have been drinking coke and pepsi products for 50 years and was diagnosed with many problems including fibromyalgia, weight gain, I have pain over my whole body, pre diabetes, bone loss, acid reflux. They don't tell you that diet soda won't make you gain weight, but it does just the opposite it seems! I believe diet soda has ruined my life, they first get you addicted, then after all these year[Show More]I have been drinking coke and pepsi products for 50 years and was diagnosed with many problems including fibromyalgia, weight gain, I have pain over my whole body, pre diabetes, bone loss, acid reflux. They don't tell you that diet soda won't make you gain weight, but it does just the opposite it seems! I believe diet soda has ruined my life, they first get you addicted, then after all these years they start to study these things and it's too late. Pepsi and Coke should be punished severely for the pain they have caused me after all these years.
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