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Artificial Sweeteners May Be Contributing To Type 2 Diabetes: Other Health Risks You Must Know

Artificial sweeteners health risks: Artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) are also linked with increased risks of death and cardiovascular disease, and strokes and dementia among older people, but it is not clear why.

Artificial Sweeteners May Be Contributing To Type 2 Diabetes: Other Health Risks You Must Know

Artificial sweeteners can lead to weight gain, say researchers

A $2.2 billion industry to help people lose weight through artificial sweeteners may be contributing to type 2 diabetes, researchers have warned.

The study, published in th journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports, also found that people who use low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are more likely to gain weight, the exact opposite of what consumers expect.

This is despite controlled clinical trials showing that artificial sweeteners do lead to weight loss, the research added.


"There has been a 200 per cent increase in LCS usage among children and a 54 per cent increase among adults in the past 20 years," said study researcher Peter Clifton from the University of South Australia.

Low calorie sweeteners are used in place of sucrose, glucose and fructose.

They have an intense sweet flavour without the calories, but recent studies have highlighted potential adverse health effects.

According to the researchers, a US study of 5158 adults over a seven-year period found that those who consumed large quantities of artificial sweeteners gained more weight than non-users.

"Consumers of artificial sweeteners do not reduce their overall intake of sugar. They use both sugar and low-calorie sweeteners and may psychologically feel they can indulge in their favourite foods," Clifton said.

"Artificial sweeteners also change the gut bacteria which may lead to weight gain and risk of type 2 diabetes," he added.

Artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) are also linked with increased risks of death and cardiovascular disease, and strokes and dementia among older people, but it is not clear why.

Study researcher Clifton cites 13 studies which investigated the effects of ASB intake on the risk of type 2 diabetes, all of which found either no link or a positive one.

One study found that substituting ASB for sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices was associated with a five to seven per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

"A better option than low-calorie sweeteners is to stick to a healthy diet, which includes plenty of whole grains, dairy, seafood, legumes, vegetables and fruits and plain water," Clifton said.

Other health risks associated with artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can do more harm than good. Apart from blood sugar control, many people use artificial sweeteners as a replacement for white sugar, in the name of weight loss. Following are some health risks associated with intake of artificial sweeteners:

1. Consuming artificial sweetners while dieting can increase your overall calorie intake.

2. Studies have also linked intake of artificial sweeteners to increasing symptoms of Crohn's disease.

3. Artificial sweeteners can trick your gut, making it unable to utilise food properly. This has a cascading effect on the body which can negatively affect hunger signals in your body. 

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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