Sweetener: Scientists warn of sugar-free food

Sweetener: Scientists warn of sugar-free food

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Artificial sweeteners can do more harm than good

Most people are aware that high sugar consumption leads to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Many therefore use artificial sweeteners as a supposed "healthier alternative". But these substances are increasingly criticized. According to scientific studies, such sweeteners are harmful to health.

A recent report in the Current Atherosclerosis Reports magazine by a research team led by Professor Peter Clifton from the University of South Australia showed that people who use low-calorie sweeteners are more likely to gain weight and do the opposite of it what they expect.

Consumption of artificial sweeteners has increased dramatically

According to a communication from the Australian university, the results mentioned apply despite controlled clinical studies that show that artificial sweeteners can lead to weight loss.

According to Prof. Clifton, the consumption of artificial sweeteners has increased by 200 percent in children over the past 20 years and by 54 percent in adults.

Low calorie sweeteners are used instead of sucrose, glucose and fructose. They have an intense sweet aroma and hardly any calories.

But recent studies have highlighted possible adverse health effects.

High consumption of sweeteners leads to weight gain

For example, the University of South Australia communication points to a U.S. study of 5,158 adults that found that those who consumed large amounts of artificial sweeteners over a seven-year period gained more weight than those who who didn't resort to such sweeteners.

“Consumers of artificial sweeteners do not reduce their total sugar intake. They use both sugar and low-calorie sweeteners and may feel they can indulge in their favorite foods, ”said Prof. Clifton.

"Artificial sweeteners also change the gut bacteria, which can lead to weight gain and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes," said the scientist.

Increased risk of diabetes

Artificially sweetened drinks are also associated with an increased risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease, as well as for strokes and dementia in the elderly. But the reasons for this are not clear.

Prof. Clifton refers to 13 studies that examined the impact of the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages on the risk of type 2 diabetes. All studies found either no or a positive connection.

One study found that replacing sugary drinks or fruit juices with artificial sweeteners was associated with a five to seven percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

"A better option than low-calorie sweeteners is to maintain a healthy diet with lots of whole grains, dairy products, seafood, legumes, vegetables and fruits, and clear water," said Prof. Clifton. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of South Australia: Here’s a bitter pill to swallow: artificial sweeteners may be doing more harm than good, (accessed: December 23, 2019), University of South Australia
  • Current Atherosclerosis Reports: Non-nutritive Sweeteners and Glycaemic Control, (accessed: December 23, 2019), Current Atherosclerosis Reports

Video: Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You? (December 2022).