This Common Weight Loss Food Might Actually Be Giving You a Gut

Tabitha Dunn
July 18, 2017

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, artificial sweeteners can be used as a strategy to manage weight or blood sugar by helping to limit energy intake.

Tucking into food and drink packed with artificial sweeteners could actually be increasing your chances of gaining weight and getting struck down with diabetes, researchers claim.

They are found in diet drinks or other similar products which people consume when they are trying to lower their sugar consumption and lose weight.

While researchers conducting the observational studies took into account factors such as the overall quality of participants' diets and pre-existing health conditions, no cause-and-effect relations can be drawn.

They identified 30 cohort studies (n = 405,907) and seven RCTs (n =1,003) including more than 400,000 individuals who were followed for an average of 10 years and 6 months, respectively. "It makes us eat more, want more and we get into that vicious cycle".

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.

Diabetes cropped up in most of the studies, too.

People are increasingly consuming artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose as well as the non-nutritive sweetener stevioside, derived from the stevia plant.

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INTERPRETATION Evidence from RCTs does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.

Admittedly, both reviewed studies do have their strengths and weaknesses.

There are a bunch of hypotheses for why artificial sweeteners may not promote weight loss or health.

The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss.

When we also consider that a 2006 study by the National Cancer Institute of over half a million older adults concluded that there was no increased risk of cancer between those who drank diet drinks and those who did not, the evidence against the safety of artificial sweetners doesn't really stack up. Artificial sweeteners also might sharpen the person's sweet tooth, making them more likely to indulge in sugary foods. Sales of diet soda drinks have dropped by almost 20% since 2009, according to market research group Euromonitor. Therefore, researchers developed this new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"Portion control works, diets in general - lean protein, high fruits, vegetables, watching the sugar - those work", Ashton said.

"The caution that the long-term effects of sweeteners are well understood", she stated through a press. Quite the contrary, it seems that people who use the sweeteners on a regular basis are more prone to developing health issues although it is not clear whether there is a direct causation involved.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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