Artificial sweeteners are low on calories, high on things that kill you

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Artificial sweeteners may actually make people fat, a study has found.

Many dieters switch to the sugar substitutes to avoid the calories while still getting their sweet-tooth fix.

The sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, are used in thousands of diet products including drinks, desserts, ready meals, cakes, chewing gum and even toothpaste.

But researchers have now linked them to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The Canadian team of researchers looked at 37 studies involving more than 400,000 people over an average of ten years.

They found no consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss — with trials suggesting they may actually harm the metabolism.

Lead author, University of Manitoba assistant rofessor Dr. Meghan Azad, said: “In 2008, more than 30 percent of Americans reported daily intake of non-nutritive sweeteners, and this proportion is increasing.”

“Researchers have suggested that non-nutritive sweeteners may have adverse effects on glucose metabolism, gut microbiota and appetite control.”

“Moreover, studies involving animals have reported that chronic exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners leads to increased food consumption, weight gain and adiposity.”

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“The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that non-nutritive sweeteners can help limit energy intake as a strategy to manage weight or blood glucose.”

“However, consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners has been paradoxically associated with weight gain and incident obesity.”

Assistant professor Dr. Ryan Zarychanski said: “We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management.”

More research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products.”

Azad and his team are now working to understand how artificial sweetener consumption by mothers-to-be may affect weight gain and gut bacteria in their infants.



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