Sugar substitutes may cut calories, but no health benefits for individuals with obesity

May 24, 2016

Artificial sweeteners help individuals with obesity to cut calories and lose weight but may have negative health effects, according to researchers at York University's Faculty of Health.

"Our study shows that individuals with obesity who consume , particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don't take ," says Professor Jennifer Kuk, obesity researcher in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

Normally, weight loss is associated with several improvements in health. Artificial sweeteners are often used to help individuals cut calories and manage their weight as they are not digested by the body. However, the recent study suggests that the bacteria in the gut may be able to break down artificial sweeteners, resulting in .

"We didn't find this adverse effect in those consuming saccharin or natural sugars," says Kuk. "We will need to do future studies to determine whether any potentially negative health effects of artificial sweeteners outweigh the benefits for ."

Currently, there are many new sugar substitutes that are used in foods. The researchers note that further investigation is needed to determine if there are any health effects of using these sweeteners.

For the study, data from 2856 U.S. adults from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES III) was used. Individuals reported their diet over the past 24 hours and were categorized as consumers of artificial sweeteners (aspartame or saccharin), or high or low consumers of (sugar or fructose). Diabetes risk was measured as the ability to manage blood sugars using an oral glucose tolerance test.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded study, "Aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity," was published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Explore further: The not-so-sweet truth about sugars

More information: Jennifer L. Kuk et al. Aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (2016). DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0675

Related Stories

The not-so-sweet truth about sugars

April 15, 2016
Whether all sweeteners produce the same metabolic effects in consumers is a controversial topic. A study conducted by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) investigators indicates that consuming lower amounts of added sugars ...

The dark side of artificial sweeteners

July 10, 2013
More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated. An opinion article published by Cell Press on July 10th in the ...

Having a sweet tooth not always linked to being overweight

May 9, 2016
Sugar is the latest target in the fight against obesity, with calls for Australia to follow the lead of countries such as the UK, Mexico and Hungary and introduce a tax on sugary drinks. But does having a sweet tooth mean ...

Gut enzymes in sweet taste cells may point way to better-tasting non-caloric sweeteners

May 9, 2016
According to new research from the Monell Center and collaborating institutions, the sweet taste cells that respond to sugars and sweeteners on the tongue also contain digestive enzymes capable of converting sucrose (table ...

Evidence shows low energy sweeteners help reduce energy intake and body weight

November 10, 2015
Use of low energy sweeteners (LES) in place of sugar, in children and adults, leads to reduced calorie intake and body weight – and possibly also when comparing LES beverages to water – according to a review led by researchers ...

Major medical groups back sweeteners as diet aid

July 9, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda, Equal and Sweet'N Low may have a role to play in maintaining or even losing weight, as long as people don't use them as an excuse to treat themselves later with high-calorie ...

Recommended for you

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.