Artificial Sweeteners May Lead to Lasting Negative Health Effects

What did you add to your coffee this morning? If you’re someone who prefers their cup of joe unsweetened, you might be better off than the rest of us.

There is a growing body of evidence on artificial sweeteners and their links to negative health effects, made even more unsettling by recent findings on the connections to metabolism, weight loss and the health of our gut flora.

Consuming excess sugar is bad for our health and, at this point in the game, we all should know it. Having too much sugar in our diets can contribute to heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, depression and immune system dysfunction. It can also inhibit our cognitive processes, cause acne, and be really hard to kick. The demonization of added sugars paved the way for the rise of artificial sweeteners, which were once thought to be an innocent and superior alternative. Science has showed us, however, that these cloyingly colorful packets can wreak havoc on our wellness just as much as the “real” stuff.

A new study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, revealed how “nonnutritive” sweeteners have some correlation with weight gain, obesity, and some of the most deadly diseases for Westerners.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation reviewed 37 studies containing a decade of research on over 400,000 participants. The observational studies sustained over a longer period of time revealed relatively higher risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health issues in those who consumed artificial sweeteners – even stevia! They also cast doubt on the alluring promise of weight loss, as higher instances of weight gain and risk for obesity were found for those who consume these sweetening substances.

“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,” lead author and assistant professor Dr. Meghan Azad told Science Daily.

Since the data is still rolling in regarding the health impact of these sweeteners, most practitioners would probably encourage cutting down on both sugar and the fake stuff. Luckily, it isn’t as difficult to do as one would think.