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People who use light products are fatter

In theory, if you replace calorie-rich sweet products with products that contain sweeteners such as aspartame you might lose a little weight. But in real life people who consume light products all the time aren't slimmer - in fact they're actually fatter than people who don't use these products at all. Canadian researchers at the University of Manitoba discovered this.

The researchers tracked down trials and epidemiological studies on the health effects of sweeteners, compiled the results and re-analysed them.

In trials where the researchers got participants to use light products for a specific period of time under controlled conditions, their BMI decreased and they lost a little weight. But the effect was not particularly convincing.

People who use light products are fatter

In epidemiological studies in which researchers compared light-product users with non-users, the light users were fatter than the non-users.

People who use light products are fatter

People who are overweight are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes. According to the epidemiological studies that the researchers analysed, sweeteners increase the chance of developing diabetes dramatically. The effect was greater than you’d expect based on the effect of sweeteners on bodyweight.

People who use light products are fatter

The researchers sounded the alarm in interviews. "Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized," said first author Meghan Azad in a press release. [ July 17, 2017] "Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products."

But in their publication, Azad and her colleagues also explain that the studies which indicate that light products increase the chance of developing type-2 diabetes are biased. Studies that show that sweeteners increase the chance of diabetes are published; studies with different findings disappear in the drawer and are probably eaten up by chemophobes.

People who use light products are fatter

It seems that in the real world light products are consumed by people who have an unhealthy lifestyle. Because light products reduce their energy intake they may believe that that means they can eat more of other foods.

CMAJ. 2017 Jul 17;189(28):E929-E939.

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Trial: High-Fructose Corn Syrup makes you fat; aspartame helps you slim 19.11.2011

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