Consuming zero calorie sweeteners may actually lead to weight gain and a host of other health problems according to new research from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Got health questions? We've got answers. Email us at email@example.com
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According to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, artificial sweeteners such as those used in diet pop may be associated with weight gain and other health problems. Researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 studies dating back to the early 1980s and involving more than 400,000 participants looking at the impact of artificial sweeteners on weight gain. Their findings suggest that over the long term, consumption of artificial sweeteners may be associated with weight gain, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Participants who consumed the greatest amount of artificial sweeteners had a 14-per-cent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than those who consumed the least. Also, those who consumed the greatest amount of artificial sweeteners had a 31-per-cent higher risk of having metabolic syndrome than those who consumed the least.
One possible explanation is that artificial sweeteners may alter the body’s response to sweetness over time, changing the way our body metabolizes actual sugar. It is also possible that people who consume more artificial sweeteners may crave more sweet foods and consequently overeat. Another theory is that someone who opts for a zero calorie pop instead of the sugar-laden version may rationalize having that extra slice or two of pizza, and wind up consuming more calories overall.
The exact link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain is not understood, but it is clear that a relationship exists.
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