Artificial Sweeteners and their Contradictory Outcomes

November 27, 2017

A new meta-analysis finds that routine intake of artificial sweeteners is linked to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. Wait, what? 

Nonnutritive sweeteners, according to a current position statment from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, may help limit intake of energy in support of an individual's effort to manage weight or blood glucose. The consumption of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, and stevia, however, has been associated with both weight gain and incident obesity.Existing evidence, from both randomized controlled trials and observational studies, is conflicting.The short slide show above summarizes a recent meta-analysis designed to determine whether "routine consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners by adults and adolescents [is] associated with adverse long-term cardiometabolic effects in RCTs and prospective cohort studies."References:1. Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013;24:431–41.2. Nettleton JE, Reimer RA, Shearer J. Reshaping the gut microbiota: Impact of low calorie sweeteners and the link to insulin resistance? Physiol Behav. 2016; 164(Pt B):488–933. Azad MB, Abou-Setta AM, Chauhan BF, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. CMAJ. 2017;189:E929-E939. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.161390.