University of Manitoba: artificial sweeteners linked to heart disease and weight gain

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 17, 2017

This is especially important as the number of people using artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and Sucralose, is increasing, Azad said.

A wide-ranging review has found that long term use of the sweeteners - including aspartame, sucralose and stevia - may have negative effects on our metabolism and appetite, as well as our gut bacteria.

Assistant professor Dr Ryan Zarychanski said: "Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products".

The team saw no consistent benefits in using artificial sweeteners for weight loss.

"We were really interested in the everyday person who is consuming these products not to lose weight, but because they think it's the healthier choice, for many years on end", says Meghan Azad, lead author of the review and a research scientist at the University of Manitoba.

"Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized", said lead author Dr. Meghan Azad, whose team at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba is also now looking into how consuming artificial sweeteners while pregnant may influence weight gain, metabolism and gut bacteria in children.

More information can be found here. But they did not find concrete proof of causation.

Azad suggests there is a 14 per cent increased risk of the chronic condition in people who consume artificial sweeteners on a daily basis compared to those who don't at all.

Azad's study didn't look into what it is about artificial sweeteners that could be triggering increased risk of so many issues, it simply points to a link. Sylvetsky Meni doesn't think having a diet soda here and there is bad. Seven of the studies were randomized controlled trials, a type considered to be the gold standard in scientific research.

"More research is definitely needed", says Azad.

In a study conducted by researchers in Israel, the sweeteners were found to alter the gut bacteria involved in processes such as metabolism and food's conversion into energy or stored fuel.

This is quite the opposite of their intended use, since artificial sweeteners have been developed to combat obesity. She said the studies may have neglected other things that influence weight, such as exercise or overall diet.

Originally developed as an alternative to sugar, artificial sweeteners are used in products such as diet soft drinks and sugar-free candies in an effort to lower sugar intake and combat obesity.

You've been watching your sugar intake lately, so you select a diet soft drink from the office pop machine for a cool, refreshing pick-me-up.

The Calorie Control Council, an association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry, took issue with the study's design and said that "experimental studies have not confirmed these findings", in a statement provided to TIME.

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