There is a lot of controversy around the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been associated with an occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Numerous observational studies have been performed to establish the association between consumption of artificial sweeteners and disease risk, but for every study that has linked artificial sweetener consumption with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or cancer there’s another that has found no association.
The research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) in July this year, indicated that consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevioside can have an uncertain long-term health impact.
The review of 37 studies showed the artificial sweeteners do not clearly support the intended benefits for weight management, and observational data even suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other health issues. The authors concluded new studies are needed to establish the long-term risks and benefits of artificial sweeteners.
Another research published in 2013 (Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements) also indicated “high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements”.
Because of inconsistency in the research, it is hard to determinate what is the mechanism behind these findings. Scientists suggest several options:
– people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources,
– artificial sweeteners produce a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, but without comparable calories.
– data showed that consuming artificial sweeteners reduced the ability of sweet tastes
– studies in humans showed artificial sweeteners evoke different brain responses compared with sugars
In conclusion, current findings suggest the overall consumption of artificial sweeteners in the diet should be taken with moderation and caution.