Sweet nothings: no benefit from artificial sugar

There's no evidence to suggest artificial sweeteners help with weight control

Too much sugar may be bad but there is no compelling evidence that alternative sweeteners are better for weight control and health, according to a report by European researchers prepared for the WHO.

Their meta-analysis of 56 studies found that non-sugar sweeteners were associated with only small improvements in BMI and fasting blood glucose levels in adults.

Children using sweeteners had a smaller increase in BMI than peers consuming sugar, but there was no difference in body weight between the two groups, the University of Freiburg-led researchers wrote in the BMJ.

For overweight and obese participants trying to lose weight, there was no evidence to show sweeteners could help.

There was no significant difference in other outcomes, including cancer risk, blood pressure, dental health, eating behaviour and kidney and cardiovascular disease, the research suggested.

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