Artificial Sweeteners don't help people lose weight, study finds

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A scientific review looked at 37 different studies to see if artificial sweeteners were successful for weight management. (Jenny Kane/AP Images)

A new review shows artificial sweeteners may not help people lose weight. And, they may even lead to increased weight gain.

The review looked at the way most people consume these sugary substitutes. Artificial sweeteners did not appear to help people lose weight. Instead, observational studies that looked at consumption over time suggested that people who regularly consumed them -by drinking one or more artificially-sweetened beverages a day- had a higher risk for health issues like weight gain, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, artificial sweeteners can be used as a strategy to manage weight or blood sugar by helping to limit energy intake.

In the report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers analyzed 37 studies on artificial sweeteners to see if they were successful for weight management. The review examined 37 studies on the topic, some of which were randomized trials, while others were observational studies.

"We were really interested in the everyday person who is consuming these products not to lose weight, but because they think it's the healthier choice, for many years on end," Megan Azad, lead author of the review and a research scientist at the University of Manitoba, told NPR. While more research needs to be done, from what we know now, "there is no clear benefit for weight loss, and there's a potential association with increased weight gain, diabetes and other negative cardiovascular outcomes," says Azad.
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