The Risks of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners may lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease

(RxWiki News) Artificial sweeteners may raise your risk of a host of health problems, according to a new study.

Stevioside (Stevia), sucralose and aspartame appeared to increase the long-term risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular (heart) events. The authors of this study suggested that these sweeteners may cause health problems because of their effects on gut bacteria, appetite and the metabolism of sugar.

"Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized," said lead study author Dr. Meghan Azad, of the University of Manitoba, in a press release. "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."

To conduct this research, the study authors looked back at 37 past studies on artificial sweeteners. In total, these researchers followed artificial sweeteners' effects on more than 400,000 people over a decade.

Despite the common use of artificial sweeteners as a weight loss tool, these researchers found no consistent weight loss effect among the study participants who consumed them. However, participants who consumed artificial sweeteners did appear to have a raised risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. 

If you are concerned about your artificial sweetener or sugar consumption, speak with your health care provider.

This study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The authors of this study disclosed no outside funding sources. One study author received speaking fees from Medtronic.