They are associated with increased weight and increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease concluded an analysis of 37 investigations about the effects of sweeteners in the body. However, they found no direct causality. You have to find out more.
Many people choose to consume artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar because they do not have calories, but they may not be as good for your health as you thought.
A research examined 37 scientific studies that explored the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body and found that to date there isn’t evidence that is beneficial to health and may even help increase body mass index (BMI) and Risk of cardio metabolic disease and diabetes.
In the United States 25% of minors and 45% of adults consume artificial sweeteners on a regular basis.
Most of these people are consuming these additives because they believe that can help them to avoid weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Still others consume them unknowingly, even if they do not add them to their food, since many foods include artificial sweeteners.
While there are more than 900 studies on the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body, researchers focused on 37 that were the most complete and best designed. In total, more than 400,000 individuals were monitored for an average of 10 years.
They determined that, contrary to popular belief, the consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with a worsening of the same health measures they sought to improve: the Body Mass Index, the risk of cardiovascular diseases and the risk of diabetes.
Even so, the analysis has several limitations. The investigations analyzed demonstrated a relationship between artificial sweeteners and certain diseases, but do not confirm that these are the cause. Neither could determine whether the effect varies by type of sweetener since many of the studies did not specify which class the participants consumed.
Another disadvantage is that most of the controlled trials analyzed followed participants for an average of six months, too short a period, or focused on obese people, who do not necessarily react to changes in diet in the same way as a person healthy.
This analysis demonstrates two things. First, there is no clear evidence that sweeteners are good for health, but there are some indications that they may be harmful. Second, it highlights the lack of research that determines the effect of sweeteners on long term health.
The latter is of particular importance, since with the rise of artificial sweeteners, which are often included in processed foods, even those who report not consuming these additives show traces of them in the blood and urine.
There are also people who question artificial sweeteners because they have heard that they can cause cancer. These rumors stem from research in the 1970s that determined that an artificial sweetener called cyclamate caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals when combined with saccharin. However, these results were not replicated in humans and hundreds of subsequent studies also found no link between artificial sweeteners and cancer.
The key is moderation
Sweeteners can help us save calories as long as we do not fall into the trap of believing that they help to lose weight or cholesterol or that they prevent diabetes by themselves.