A recent analysis revealed that the consumption of sugar substitutes can paradoxically lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. People use sugar substitutes, also known as artificial sweeteners, because they have fewer calories than sugar and are believed to prevent weight gain.
Researchers found recently that there is no rock-solid evidence to prove that sugar substitutes are a healthier alternative to sugar. Aspartame or sucralose may create a series of health problems if they are consumed regularly, a study published Monday shows.
The recent findings are all the more concerning since one in four U.S. kids consume them, and 41 percent of adults routinely replace sugar with these sweeteners. An even larger number of people may be consuming them unknowingly since many pre-packaged foods contain them.
Study authors claim they focused on people consuming these chemicals not because they wanted to lose some extra pounds, but because they believe sugar replacements are healthier than the real stuff.
Lead author Meghan Azad noted that study participants consumed the products for many years. She concluded that there is no link between sugar substitutes and weight loss, but there is a statistically significant link to higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
The New Research
The study, which appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week, is a review of 34 smaller studies involving 406,000 people in total. Some of them were observational studies, while a small portion were randomized trials.
In the randomized trials, which included 1,000 volunteers, people didn’t knew if they received sugar or a sugar substitute. However, because of the costs involved, these studies lasted less and involved fewer participants. These studies are more accurate than observational ones as they can pinpoint how real people behave in real settings.
In both types of studies, the newly-found associations are just statistically significant links, not cause-and-effect relationships.
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