Taking sweeteners may not necessarily be healthier


January 28, 2019


Taking sweeteners may not necessarily be healthier

Photo: Agencies

There is no compelling evidence to indicate important health benefits of non-sugar sweeteners, and potential harms cannot be ruled out, suggests a recent review of published studies in The BMJ, a leading general medical journal in the UK.Foods or drinks containing non-sugar sweeteners have become increasingly popular in recent times.

To understand the potential benefits and harms of sweeteners, a team of European researchers analyzed 56 studies comparing no intake or lower intake of non-sugar sweeteners, with higher intake, in healthy adults and children, the BMJ report said. The measures included weight, blood sugar control, oral health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood and behavior. For most outcomes, there seemed to be no statistically or clinically relevant differences between those exposed to non-sugar sweeteners and those not exposed, or between different doses of non-sugar sweeteners.The study suggested small improvements in body mass index (BMI) and fasting blood glucose levels with non-sugar sweeteners, but the certainty of this evidence was low.Likewise, lower intakes of non-sugar sweeteners were associated with slightly less weight gain (-0.09 kg) than higher intakes, but again the certainty of this evidence was low.In children, a smaller increase in BMI score was seen with non-sugar sweeteners compared with sugar, but intake of non-sugar sweeteners made no differences to body weight, according to the study.

Several studies show that people who drink a lot of diet beverages tend to gain weight. However, the reasons for this are not clear. But there are a few theories. While a theory considers the cravings for sweet foods, another theory says people tend to think that since the biscuits or cakes are sugar free, they can increase the slice. Therefore, it is not necessarily true that drinking a diet beverage over a sweetened drink will result in weight loss.