Study provides evidence of negative effects of calorie-free sweeteners
While many people see sweeteners as a "healthier alternative" to sugar, numerous scientific studies in recent years have indicated that artificial sweeteners can harm the body. This has now been shown in a recent study by American researchers.
Artificial sweeteners can harm your health
Most people are aware that high sugar consumption leads to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or tooth decay. Many therefore use artificial sweeteners as a supposed "healthier alternative". But these substances are increasingly being targeted by nutritionists and doctors. Research has shown that sweeteners are harmful to health. Among other things, they can promote the risk of diabetes, as Israeli researchers have found. Australian and Canadian scientists also found that such sweeteners can lead to severe hunger and promote weight gain. A new study by American researchers has now also provided evidence of the negative effects of calorie-free sweeteners.
Negative effects of calorie-free sweeteners
"The negative effects of consuming high amounts of sugar on general health have long been associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other health problems," the study said at the weekend's Experimental Biology conference in San Diego was presented.
However, according to the study authors, "the negative effects of eating calorie-free sweeteners instead of sugar have also been increasingly recognized as a potential contribution to the dramatic increase in diabetes and obesity."
In animal experiments, the researchers led by Brian Hoffmann from the Medical College of Wisconsin have now received new evidence as to why artificial sweeteners do not necessarily make you slim and can even be harmful.
Change in metabolism
The scientists found in rats and cell experiments that after consuming certain sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame), the metabolism and lining of the blood vessels change adversely.
To get their results, the researchers fed one group of rats with sugar and another with sweeteners.
In blood tests three weeks later, they found significant differences in certain types of fats and amino acids in the two groups. This indicates that the animals processed fats differently.
In addition, acesulfame accumulated in the blood. According to the scientists, this could damage the cells that line the blood vessels.
The body can process sugar to a moderate extent, but "If this machine is overloaded for a long time, it will break down," quotes the news agency dpa Hoffmann.
On the other hand, if you rely on calorie-free sweeteners, you accept changes in fat and energy metabolism.
Results are not directly transferable to humans
According to the physician Stefan Kabisch from the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DIfE) in Potsdam, the animal study still leaves many questions unanswered. In addition, the results are by no means directly applicable to humans.
The significance is also limited by the fact that only two sweeteners were tested. Agents like sucralose, stevia, saccharin are also widely used "and differ in many respects from the two substances examined," Kabisch said.
Although the new work, like previous studies, provides evidence that sweeteners do not automatically help you lose weight or can even be harmful, the current level of knowledge is not uniform.
According to the expert, in addition to metabolic mechanisms, eating behavior could also cause you to gain weight despite refraining from sugar.
"The calories you save with sweeteners are added - consciously or unconsciously - to other foods," said Kabisch.
Based on current knowledge, sweeteners could continue to be used, but the recommendations for the respective maximum daily dose should be observed.
In the current intake, safe for human consumption
So far, the researchers in the USA have also not warned of moderate sweetener consumption. However, there is no official recommendation to use it permanently for weight loss or to save sugar.
"Instead of replacing sugar with sweeteners, the DGE basically recommends changing the diet to" less sweet "", says Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society (DGE) according to the German press agency.
The effects of aspartame have been studied in experiments with animals and humans for more than 30 years, according to the European Food Authority (EFSA).
The agency's experts concluded that "aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at the current levels of exposure," the EFSA website said.
Acesulfame has also been approved in the EU for years. (ad)