The findings, presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, show that the rats given artificial sweeteners experienced severe changes in the makeup of their biochemicals, fats, and amino acids after just three weeks. But while these statements are regularly considered as nothing but junk science, a number of studies are starting to show that sweeteners can in fact add up to health risks such as type 2 diabetes. The studies were conducted in rats and cell cultures. In the end, all the rats exhibited biochemical changes in their blood that are often seen as precursors to diabetes and obesity. With zero calories, they make diet drinks and low-calorie snacks sweet enough to be enjoyed by even the most sugar-hooked consumers.
Sugar substitutes were developed in the 20 century to offset the ill effects of sugar consumption in modern diets, from obesity to diabetes.
Researchers said additional studies are needed to further explain the link between artificial sweeteners and obesity and diabetes, and whether they should be avoided.
The study was led by Brian Hoffman of the Medical College of Wisconsin at Marquette University. Moreover, the ones who had gorged on one artificial sweetener - acesulfame potassium, used in gum and baked goods - experienced a nasty buildup of the chemical in the blood vessels. The study found that among dozens of studies with over 400,000 participants, consumption of artificial sweeteners was positively associated with weight gain and diabetes. A team of researchers found that rats that received artificial sweeteners, started to experience problems with obesity. "We also observed that replacing these sugars with non-caloric artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism". "If you chronically consume these foreign substances [as with sugar] the risk of negative health outcomes increases".
"Much of the research that points to negative impacts of sweeteners are based on animal studies - specifically mice and rats - so shouldn't be applied directly to humans as we do have different metabolic pathways", Aisling Pigott, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, was quoted as saying by Newsweek, a USA magazine.
"Overuse or excessive use of any products-including sugar or sweeteners-is not beneficial to health", Pigott said.
Sugar is the enemy, but so are those sugar replacements (allegedly).