Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

Claims that artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may be hazardous to your health are backed by scientific evidence that points to this conclusion, but a direct causation has not been drawn.
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Claims that artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may be hazardous to your health are backed by scientific evidence that points to this conclusion, but a direct causation has not been drawn. Members of both the Calorie Control Council and the American Beverage Association publicly differ with these negative findings. However, Dr. Alan R. Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes, wants consumers to know "additional research is needed to understand the impact of these beverages."

Premature Birth
Drinking one or more artificially sweetened carbonated diet drinks a day may be linked to an increased risk of premature birth, according to national study conducted by the Centre for Fetal Programming in the Division of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. The study examined the soft drink consumption of close to 60,000 Danish women. The study, published in the September 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that those women who regularly drank artificially sweetened carbonated diet drinks were 78 percent more likely to have an early delivery than women who never drank the beverages. Women who consumed one or more of the diet drinks were 38 percent more likely to deliver early. Shelley McGuire, Ph.D., a National Spokeswoman for the American Society of Nutrition, says these findings "May be really important in terms of preventing premature births."

LIVESTRONG.COM: Premature Infant

Weight Gain
Rather than help with weight loss, artificially sweetened diet drinks may cause weight gain, according to a literature review by Qing Yang from the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. The results, published in the June 2010 issue of the "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine," found that aspartame, acesulfame potassium and saccharin all heightened the motivation to eat more. Additionally, a sweet taste, from artificial or natural sweeteners, was found to enhance the human appetite. One theory is that artificial sweeteners, such as those in diet drinks, fail to activate the food reward pathways of the brain in the same satisfying way as natural sweeteners.

Increased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Daily drinkers of diet soda are 36 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and had an elevated risk of 67 percent for type 2 diabetes in comparison to those who don't drink it, according to a study authored by Jennifer A. Nettleton of the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center. Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions that put you at higher risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Symptoms include a "spare tire" around the abdomen and a pro-inflammatory state. The results, reported in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Diabetes Care, also found the daily consumption of diet soda significantly increased the risk of developing a large waist circumference.

LIVESTRONG.COM: Characteristics of Metabolic Syndrome


About this Author

Victoria Weinblatt

Victoria Weinblatt graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in environmental and natural resource policy and is completing her master's in TESOL at Shenandoah University. Weinblatt worked for five years as a nationally certified massage therapist in Seattle and Philadelphia. She earned her hatha yoga teacher certification from the Vijnana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre.

Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
. Courtesy of LIVESTRONG.COM

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