Artificial Sweeteners

Linked to Obesity and Diabetes


BY STEVE BORN

In a valiant effort to reduce sugar consumption, many people instead reach for artificially sweetened, zero-calorie beverages that contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K). Unfortunately, these common food additives carry their own health perils.

A recently presented study from the annual Experimental Biology meeting revealed a link with artificial sweeteners and obesity, along with an increased risk of diabetes. In a study led by Dr. Brian Hoffmann, two groups of rats were fed either a high-sugar diet, or one containing aspartame or acesulfame K. After a three-week period, they examined the biochemical response of each group.

Their evaluations showed that artificial sweeteners change how the body processes fat and utilizes energy stores. Additionally, acesulfame K was observed to accrue in high concentrations in the blood, thus causing additional harm to the cells that line blood vessels.

Dr. Hoffman summarized, “In our studies, both sugar and artificial sweeteners seem to exhibit negative effects linked to obesity and diabetes, albeit through very different mechanisms from each other.”

The take-home message is this: Both high sugar intake and the consumption of artificial sweeteners are linked to negative health outcomes. While it is essential to reduce consumption of sugars, substituting artificial sweeteners is not the answer. Not only have they been linked to obesity and an increased risk of diabetes, they are also associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia.

For more information regarding our position on artificial sweeteners, please see the FAQ “Do you use any artificial sweeteners in your products?

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