Artificial sweeteners are linked to long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, among other health issues, says a new study.

The study says artificial sweeteners may have long-term negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba’s centre for healthcare innovation conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

The observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

“Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products,” said author Ryan Zarychanski, an assistant professor.

“We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management.”

Meghan Azad, lead author and assistant professor, called for caution until the long term risks are fully ascertained.

“Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised,” said 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.”

The study was published in Canadian medical association journal.



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