“Artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless.”

Below are a couple of interesting articles regarding artificial sweeteners. With obesity rates rising, government has taken the step to tax sugar. But are artificial sweeteners safe to consume. Personally I try to avoid anything with artificial sweeteners, although that’s becoming more difficult. I’ve understood, for many years, that there are hidden dangers in consuming too much sweetener and the articles below are suggesting this may be true.

Diet Fizzy Drinks Could ‘Increase Your Risk Of Stroke And Heart Disease’

Opting for a diet version of your favourite soft drink may seem like the healthiest option, but new research suggests it could increase your risk of stroke, heart disease and even early death.

The large study, involving more than 80,000 women in the US, found that drinking two or more diet drinks a day – including fizzy drinks and fruit-based diet drinks – increased the risk of stroke by 23%.

Compared with women who consumed diet drinks less than once a week or not at all, women who consumed two or more artificially-sweetened drinks per day were also 29% more likely to develop heart disease and 16% more likely to die from any cause.

Diet Fizzy Drinks Could 'Increase Your Risk Of Stroke And Heart

Further analysis showed that some groups of women were most at risk, with those drinking two or more diet drinks a day who were also obese having more than double the stroke risk than others. African-American women also had a higher risk of stroke.

The authors stressed that the study found a link but could not prove that diet drinks cause stroke and heart problems.

Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, said: “Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet.

“Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”

The research, published in the journal Stroke, included data from 81,714 post-menopausal women (who were aged 50 to 79 at the start of the study) and who were tracked for an average of 12 years. One serving of diet drink was regarded as 355ml.

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani said the study had not looked at individual artificial sweeteners, saying: “We don’t know specifically what types of artificially sweetened beverages they were consuming, so we don’t know which artificial sweeteners may be harmful and which may be harmless.”

In response to the study, The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) said past reviews commissioned by the World Health Organisation found “no evidence that low calorie sweeteners could cause or increase the risk of cardiovascular disease″.

“It is important to highlight that, before being approved for use on the market, low calorie sweeteners are thoroughly tested and regulatory bodies around the world have consistently confirmed their safety and the lack of any negative health effect,” it said. 

Article from Huffpost – Read it here

Artificial Sweeteners In Diet Fizzy Drinks May Be Making You Gain Weight

Opting for a diet fizzy drink may seem like the healthier option, but artificial sweeteners used in the beverages may actually be making you gain weight.

New research has linked certain artificial sweeteners with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, are used to make many of the most popular soft drinks and according to researchers, consumption of them is widespread and increasing.

Emerging data indicate that artificial, or nonnutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting, they added.

Artificial Sweeteners In Diet Fizzy Drinks May Be Making You Gain

To better understand whether consuming artificial sweeteners is associated with negative long-term effects on weight and heart disease, researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation conducted a  review of 37 studies that followed over 400 000 people for an average of 10 years.

The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss.  

In fact, the longer 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 Dr Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

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

Lead author and assistant professor Dr Meghan Azad, added: “Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised.” 

Dr Azad’s team at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba is undertaking a new study to understand how artificial sweetener consumption by pregnant women may influence weight gain, metabolism and gut bacteria in their infants.

“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,” she said.

Article from Huffpost – Read it here

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