If you’re trying to watch your weight or just be healthier in general, choosing artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose over real sugar might seem like a good idea. After all, consuming too much sugar is linked to complications like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, so wouldn’t it make sense to go for the alternative?
According to new research, maybe not!
A new scientific review of 37 previously published studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal maintains that there is no evidence that nonnutritive (zero calorie) sweeteners aid in weight loss and could actually be responsible for health problems later on.
Researchers found that consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners was associated with modest long-term weight gain in observational studies.
So instead of helping us lose weight and promote good health as an alternative to sugar, those artificial sweeteners could potentially be causing our bodies harm.
Seven of the studies were randomized trials; the remaining 30 observational studies followed nearly 406,000 people for more than a decade. Some of the research linked artificial sweeteners to weight loss and others to weight gain.
Hopefully this will cause you to take pause about consuming artificial sweeteners, especially on a regular basis, because we do not know if they are a truly harmless alternative to sugar. People are generally consuming nonnutritive sweeteners believing they are a ‘healthy choice,’ but this may not be true.
What still isn’t clear is the direct relationship between these sweeteners and the bevy of health issues they could be perpetuating. For example, is a person changing their eating habits and eating more food in general because of the sugar substitute, or is it the substitute itself that is causing a person to gain weight?
Another reason the review is fairly inconclusive is because it’s looking at artificial sweeteners as a group instead of individually.
Clearly, more research is needed to determine how and why artificial sweeteners might be creating these health problems, but in the meantime you can educate yourself on the best and worst sugar substitutes by clicking here.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you surprised that sugar substitutes have been linked to weight gain and other health problems? Do you consume sugar substitutes?