Artificial sweeteners may be doing us more harm than
good, according to University of South Australia.
Although they were developed to help people lose weight
artificial sweeteners may be doing more harm than good and
contributing to type 2 diabetes, according to
researchers from the University of South
A recently published review led by UniSA Professor Peter Clifton
reveals that people who use low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are more
likely to gain weight, which is the exact opposite of what
This is despite controlled clinical trials showing that artificial sweeteners do lead to weight
There has been a 200 per cent increase in LCS usage among children and a 54 per cent
increase among adults in the past 20 years, Prof Clifton says.
Low calorie sweeteners are used in place of sucrose, glucose and
fructose. They have an intense sweet flavour without the calories,
but recent studies have highlighted potential adverse health
Prof Clifton says a US study of 5158 adults over a seven-year
period found that those who consumed large quantities of artificial
sweeteners gained more weight than non-users.
"Consumers of artificial sweeteners do not reduce their overall
intake of sugar. They use both sugar and low-calorie sweeteners and
may psychologically feel they can indulge in their favourite
"Artificial sweeteners also change the gut bacteria which may
lead to weight gain and risk of type 2 diabetes," he says.
Artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) are also linked with
increased risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes and
dementia among older people, but it is not clear why.
Prof Clifton cites 13 studies which investigated the effects of
ASB intake on the risk of type 2 diabetes, all of which found
either no link or a positive one. One study found that substituting
ASB for sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices was associated
with a 5-7 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
"A better option than low-calorie sweeteners is to stick to a
healthy diet, which includes plenty of whole grains, dairy,
seafood, legumes, vegetables and fruits and plain water," Prof