Contrary to their main advertising point, these sweeteners may not help you lose weight.
Researchers from the University of Manitoba reviewed 37 studies, seven being randomized controlled trials of 1,003 participants and 30 being observational studies that followed 405,907 participants for a decade.
Instead of finding consistent weight loss across the studies, the researchers discovered that artificial sweeteners might actually cause the opposite, as well as contribute to health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, ScienceDaily reported.
In the randomized trials, the participants did lose an insignificant amount of weight, but it's important to keep in mind that these trials involved overweight subjects and focused on them losing weight. The observational trials are more authentic because it's asking someone about their regular habits.
"We were really interested in the everyday person who is consuming these products not ot lose weight, but because they think it's the healthier choice, for many years on end," Meghan Azad, the lead author, said, according to NPR. She means packaged foods, like granola bars or diet sodas, that have hidden artificial sweeteners in them. There are currently five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners out there.
It's possible that consuming artificial sweeteners might affect our taste buds by either making us crave more sweets or thinking that we can overcompensate our calorie intake with truly unhealthy foods.
More research needs to be conducted in order to determine if there are any potential benefits to artificial sweeteners, and if they outweigh the potential negative health issues.
As for now, Azad suggest people stay cautious about the sweeteners they are consuming, and to remember that sugar found naturally in foods, such as apples, are accompanied by other good-for-you nutrients that make them worth noshing on.
Thumbnail/banner image credit: Flickr user Pattie