In today’s world, dietary drinks and foods laced with artificial sweeteners are doing the rounds among fitness-conscious people. In fact, artificial sweeteners find their way into foods which claim to be low calorie alternatives to sugar. Now a recent study has found a potential link between high consumption of artificial sweetener and increased risk of heart problems.

According to the findings of the cohort study, published in the British Medical Journal, the risk of cardiovascular diseases (coronary heart disease or cerebrovascular disease) is increased by the sweeteners used in not just beverages, but also table top products, dairy products, bakery items and more.

“Artificial sweeteners are present in thousands of food and beverage brands worldwide, however they remain a controversial topic and are currently being re-evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organization, and other health agencies,” reads the conclusion of the study.

Globally, some health agencies have maintained that cautious use of artificial sweeteners may be okay. But overdoing it may be harmful.

Also read: The good, bad and ugly side of including stevia in your daily diet

Stevia is popularly used as an artificial sweetener. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are 4 reasons to use artificial sweeteners with caution:

1. Causes weight gain

We frequently choose artificial sweeteners since we’ve always been told that they won’t affect our weight, but this is untrue. The usage of artificial sweeteners, especially in diet drinks, has been linked to increased weight gain and belly fat over time. Obviously, this does not imply that you should switch to refined sugar. Instead, make an effort to consume less sugar overall, whether it is refined sugar or artificial sugar, both can affect your weight.

2. Increased sugar cravings

Artificial sweeteners may prevent us from associating sweetness with calorie intake. As a result, we could have increased cravings for sweets, a propensity to select sweet foods over healthy ones, and to put on weight. A 2017 study cited by the National Center of Biotechnology Information says artificial sweeteners lead to decreased satiety, and are associated with increased caloric consumption and weight gain.

Also if you think you can stop drinking diet soda whenever you like, do not assume. Studies conducted on animals indicate that artificial sweeteners might be so addictive that it can make you crave more for sugar.

sugar cravings
You may end up spiking your sugar cravings. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Increased risk of diabetes

When these artificial sweeteners are consumed, the pancreas releases insulin, which the body interprets as glucose (due to their sweet taste).
Excess consumption of artificial sweetening agents, as per studies, may lead to higher insulin resistance.

4. Affects your gut health

We all know how important it is to maintain a healthy mix of gut bacteria for general health. As per various studies, consuming too much of artificial sweeteners may disrupt the balance of your good bacteria, thereby affecting gut health.

 

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