More research needed into the effects sugar substitutes have on health

Ordering a diet soda as a “healthier” choice may be backfiring.A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has highlighted the need for more research into the potential adverse effects of artificial sweeteners.Researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation found an association between artificial sweeteners and long-term weight gain, increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. But they did not find concrete proof of causation.Meghan Azad, head author of the study and assistant professor in the department of Pediatrics and Child Health and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, said there is a lack of scientific-based evidence on the long-term impact of consuming artificial sweeteners.Azad’s research suggests that “long term consumption of sweeteners may have adverse effects.”Article Continued BelowThe study highlights the fact that more research needs to be conducted before “the long-term risks and benefits of these products are fully characterized.” For instance, the effects of synthetic versus natural low calorie sweeteners have not been thoroughly explored.This is especially important as the number of people using artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and Sucralose, is increasing, Azad said.The researchers assessed 938 full-text articles, before narrowing that to conduct a systematic review of 37 studies that followed more than 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.