A Review Finds That Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Better Than Sugar

A Review Finds That Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Better Than Sugar

The longer-term effects of artificial sweeteners could be quite opposite to their intended outcomes, with the potential to increase the user's risk of obesity and heart disease. Diabetics and those who strictly watched calories for the objective of weight management/loss have been the targeted lot. Observational studies that link the sweeteners to health problems do not prove the sweeteners themselves are responsible. Emerging data indicate that artificial, or nonnutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

"People consume artificial sweeteners and diet beverages and think they can eat cake". Palm sugar, raw organic honey, jaggery, brown sugar, demerara sugar and organic sugar varieties are some of the best alternatives to regular refined sugar.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, are used to make numerous most popular soft drinks and according to researchers, consumption of them is widespread and increasing.

At the same time, the 30 observational studies showed that over an average follow-up of 10 years, people regularly using artificial sweeteners tended to develop health problems associated with excess weight. The data from the clinical trials did not support the anticipated benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management, she added.

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Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing. Their results were published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Across the board in the studies, those who consumed more artificial sweeteners faced a "slight" increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions from excess body fat around the waist, increased blood pressure to abnormal cholesterol. Seven of the studies were randomized controlled trials, a type considered to be the gold standard in scientific research. "I used to be a person who put Splenda in my coffee every day", she says. People may also believe that because they haven't consumed calories, they have license to splurge elsewhere.

The available evidence suggests that sweeteners may help with weight loss if they are carefully used as a one-to-one replacement for sugar-sweetened drinks or foods as part of a structured weight-loss program, says Allison Sylvetsky Meni, an assistant professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health. "They're shifting calories to other foods", Azad explained. Or the sweet taste paired with no calories may confuse the body and change how it handles real sugar, as has been shown in lab animals.

In the meantime, Azad thinks the lack of proven benefit and questions about harm should give pause to people who choose sweeteners because they think they're healthful substitutes for sugar.

Ordering a diet soda as a "healthier" choice may be backfiring.

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