Artificial Sweeteners – Not!

025043236-sugar-freeDo you use artificial sweeteners or drink diet sodas? We've been watching the evidence mount that these products really aren't very helpful in assisting people to lose or even maintain their weight, and now comes a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week that shows the sweeteners may actually be harmful.

This study was a meta-analysis of 7 randomized controlled trials and 30 cohort studies,with just over 1000 subjects in the former, with a median follow up of six months, and over 405,000 in the latter with a median follow up of 10 years. In the randomized controlled trials use of these non-nutritive sweeteners did not impact on BMI, while the cohort studies showed an association with an increase in weight, waist circumference, obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular events. I pose the question in the podcast of a mechanism by which these sweeteners may have such an impact over the long term, to which Rick posits that they may actually induce increased consumption of sugar since they sensitize individuals to very sweet foodstuffs. An open question is whether the sweeteners themselves have some other physiologic impact that contributes to the development of obesity by other means, and we're sure time will tell as more research is done.

Other topics this week include two from JAMA: Weight Gain During Adulthood and Major Health Outcomes Later in Life and Association of Reduced Hospital Readmission Rates With Mortality Rates After Discharge, and from Annals: Dose Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioids. Until next week, y'all live well.

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