Artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain

artificial sweeteners in a cup
The sweeteners were once hailed as a healthy alternative to sugar.

New research has linked artificial sweeteners to a host of adverse side effects, including weight gain, diabetes and gut health.

The Canadian researchers conducted a systematic review that included 37 studies that followed more than 400,000 individuals for around 10 years. Seven of those studies were randomised control studies, which is considered the best method of clinical research.

The randomised controlled studies followed 1,003 people for six months.

They found that overwhelmingly, artificial sweeteners were not linked to a reduction in weight or BMI (Body Mass Index).

What’s more, researchers say consuming artificial sweeteners is linked to weight gain and an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

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However, the researchers noted that there was not enough evidence from the randomised controlled trials to definitively confirm these observations, reports Medical News Today.

Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products. We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management,” said Dr Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

The study’s lead author Dr Meghan Azad said people should to weary of consuming artificial sweeteners.

“Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised,” she said.

Do you use artificial sweeteners? Have you noticed a change since you started using them?