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Artificial sweeteners could cause weight gain over time, review of studies says
18 July 2017, 12:47 | Rodolfo Quinn
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame sucralose and stevia contribute to weight gain heart disease
It could be that those who regularly use artificial sweeteners over-compensate for the missed calories from sugar, or they could have otherwise unhealthy diets in conjunction with sweetener use.
To understand the effect of artificial sweeteners consumed by pregnant women on weight gain, metabolism and gut bacteria of their infants, a team at Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, under the lead author Dr. Meghan Azad, Assistant Professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, is undertaking a new study.
It's been an ongoing debate.
Intuitively, it seems the answer should be "yes": Sugar is calorie-dense, and contributes to weight gain and all of the potential health complications-like diabetes and heart disease-that arise with it.
To put the findings of Azad et al. publication into context, some observational studies do find that people who are overweight or obese and individuals with diabetes or other cardiometabolic health issues that are usually accompanying obesity, tend to use more frequently low calorie sweeteners.
Diet soda sales have tumbled as consumers, turned off by studies on artificial sweeteners, have switched to bottled water, teas and energy drinks, instead. The best advice would be to choose your sugar intake wisely and avoid sweet foods when possible, no matter how many calories they may contain.
Considering that two-thirds of all adults in the USA are overweight and about one-third are obese, many Americans are interested in shedding a few pounds.
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Broadly speaking, fake sugars work by tricking our taste buds into thinking that they've detected sugar, but they're made out of chemicals that our bodies can't break down, so we get no weight gain-inducing calories (or any nutritional value) from them. The data from the clinical trials did not support the anticipated benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management, she added. Contrary to assertions in the study by Azad et al., observational cohort studies, by design, do not and can not provide evidence that low calorie sweeteners are linked to weight gain or heart disease, as they are subject to indication bias and reverse causation can not be ruled out.
"More research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products".
A new review shows artificial sweeteners may not help people lose weight.
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. BMI is a measurement of body fat, based on height and weight.
The study highlights the fact that more research needs to be conducted before "the long-term risks and benefits of these products are fully characterized".
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