A new study found that regularly using non-nutritive sweeteners (what we civilians call artificial sweeteners) may be associated with increased BMI and cardio-metabolic risk. In short, reaching for that pack of NutraSweet or Equal won’t help you lose weight.
The study was conducted by looking at seven trials that included a total of 1,003 participants, as well as 30 cohort studies that had a whopping 405, 907 participants. They found that using a non-nutritive sweetener had no significant effect on BMI. Instead, consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners was associated with a modest increase in BMI as well as slight increases in weight and waist circumference, and higher incidents of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular events. Of course, the researchers want to do more research (it’s their job after all) to determine why artificial sweeteners affect some people this way, and to figure out whether they are causing underlying health problems in the population.