We’ve All Been Sold a Lie About Non‑Sugar Sweeteners
A new review of 56 published studies exploring the health benefits of sugar alternatives has concluded … they hold no real benefits.
Sugar alternatives were defined as artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose (Splenda), as well as natural non-caloric sweeteners, such as Stevia.
The team of European researchers behind the review found that across diverse measures of health such as weight, blood sugar control, oral health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and mood and behavior, the use of non-sugar sweeteners had no statistically significant effect. The amount of consumption — low versus high — of these sugar alternatives also had no significant, positive influence on health. The review was also unable to rule out negative health effects.
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The researchers called their certainty in their findings “very low to moderate, and our confidence in the reported effect estimates is accordingly limited,” so the review is far from the last word on the subject. That said, while the review may not meet the rigorous standards of the researchers involved, it is the latest and most comprehensive entry in a spate of recent research suggesting a downside to non-sugar sweeteners. The researchers are calling for more and longer-term research into the safety and health benefits of sugar alternatives.
They’re not the only ones. In August 2018, researchers in the US issued a call for the country’s Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its approval of sucralose, better known as Splenda, after discovering two previously unidentified, fat-soluble byproducts of metabolizing the sweetener in a study of rats. Other, earlier studies have found a link between artificial sweeteners and metabolic conditions, like diabetes and obesity.