People who want to loose weight, often go for artificial sweeteners. Well, new study shows that artificial sweeteners are not a great alternative to natural sugar, even WHO is starting advisory campaign. The knowledge on what health risks consuming sugar brings is well known. Many documentaries have been filmed claiming bad health outcomes when consuming sugar, every doctor would tell you to cut on sugar consumption, even small kids are encouraged to reduce sugar intake. While all of the advisory on bad aspects of sugar is true, many don’t know what artificial sweeteners do to our body.
The mind set of every consumer who choses to switch to “sugar free” options is, this is a better health choice, no calories or it will make me more slim. Well, the outcome could be very different. On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an recommendation statement on sugar free artificial sweeteners: “WHO recommends, artificial sweeteners not to be used as weight reduction and does not recommend using artificial sweeteners as risk reduction of weight causing health problems.”
Studies showed that using artificial sweeteners could stop gaining weight in short period of time but it also shows that using artificial sweeteners regularly could increase the risk of severe weight gain and obesity. The advice is supported by a thorough evaluation of the existing data, which found that neither adults nor kids who use of none-sugar sweeteners (NSS) see any long-term benefits in terms of body fat reduction. The review’s findings also imply that prolonged use of NSS may have unfavourable impacts, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and adult mortality.
The sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia, to name a few. The WHO’s decision goes against earlier research that claimed artificial sweeteners neither harmed nor improved health. According to Stephanie McBurnett, a registered dietitian and nutrition educator with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, nutrition science is always changing, and conclusions are being updated with more reliable evidence. Examining the impact of other dietary components, such as saturated fats, may provide additional light on the underlying causes of several health problems that have been attributed to sugar.
The Concerns and Potential Health Risks
Weight Management Challenges
One of the main reasons for consuming artificial sweeteners is to reduce calorie intake and aid in weight management. However, newest studies suggest that the intense sweetness of artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake. This can potentially lead to increased cravings for sweet foods and contribute to overeating.
Impact on Blood Sugar and Insulin Response
Artificial sweeteners are often marketed as safe alternatives for individuals with diabetes or those looking to control their blood sugar levels. However, research indicates that artificial sweeteners may still affect blood sugar and insulin response. Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners can trigger insulin release, which can potentially interfere with glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Altered Gut Microbiota
Emerging research suggests a potential link between artificial sweeteners and alterations in the gut microbiota, the community of microorganisms in our digestive system. Imbalances in the gut microbiota have been associated with various health conditions, including obesity, metabolic disorders, and impaired immune function. While further research is needed to establish a conclusive connection, the potential impact on gut health raises concerns.
The Aspartame Debate
Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener found in numerous diet and “sugar-free” products. It has been a subject of intense scrutiny and controversy. Critics of aspartame point to studies that have linked it to a range of health issues, including headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and even cancer. However, numerous regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have declared aspartame safe for consumption within acceptable daily intake limits.
The controversy surrounding artificial sweeteners, including the impact of aspartame, continues to generate discussion and debate. While newest studies suggest potential negative health impacts, it is essential to further research this very important topic. Now that WHO issued artificial sweeteners advisory, most likely this will open the door to further investigations and possible government own advisories. Individuals should make informed choices based on their unique health circumstances and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice.