MONDAY, July 17, 2017 -- Artificial sweeteners may be less helpful than many believe in helping people lose weight and avoid health problems associated with extra pounds, a new evidence review suggests.
Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners did not lead to any significant weight loss in more than 1,000 participants in seven clinical trials, said lead researcher Meghan Azad. Clinical trials are considered the "gold standard" of medical research, added Azad, an assistant professor of pediatrics with the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
At the same time, the combined data from 30 observational studies involving more than 400,000 participants showed that artificial sweeteners are associated with obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart health problems. Observational studies cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship, however.
These results are "kind of the opposite of what these products are intended for," Azad said. "It should make people think and question whether they really need to be eating these artificial sweeteners.