Experts Link Artificial Sweeteners With Obesity and Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

NDTV Jul 17, 2017 11:56 am
Experts Link Artificial Sweeteners With Obesity and Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

Highlights

  1. Experts now emphasize the need to move away from refined sugar
  2. A recent study links artificial sweetener consumption with weight gain
  3. The team reviewed 37 different studies that involved over 4 lakh people
A recent study conducted by the experts at the University of Manitoba in Canada links artificial sweetener consumption with weight gain and risk of developing ailments like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. Artificial sweeteners were the product of the need to provide a sweet experience to the ones who were supposed to steer clear of natural sugar. Diabetics and those who strictly watched calories for the purpose of weight management/loss have been the targeted lot. However, the recent years have seen a host of studies emphasizing the downsides of artificial sweeteners.

The study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) states that, "emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting," as quoted by PTI.

Experts now emphasize the need to move away from refined sugar and artificial sweeteners on to other natural and healthier alternatives. Palm sugar, raw organic honey, jaggery, brown sugar, demerara sugar and organic sugar varieties are some of the best alternatives to regular refined sugar.

"Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised," said Assistant Professor Meghan Azad. "Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products," Azad said.

The team reviewed 37 different studies that involved over 4 lakh people who were followed for almost a decade. While the trial-based studies failed to show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight, the long-tail researches managed to draw a correlating pattern between artificial sweetener consumption and increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments.

Inputs from PTI

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