Research

Artificial Sweeteners Are Linked to Weight Gain

Artificial sweeteners might seem like a low- or no-calorie way to enjoy sweet food and not gain weight. But a new study links them to the opposite. In the report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers analyzed 37 studies on artificial sweeteners to see if they were successful for weight management. The studies followed more than 400,000 people for about 10 years. Seven of the studies were randomized controlled trials, a type considered to be the gold standard in scientific research.

Artificial sweeteners did not appear to help people lose weight. Instead, observational studies that looked at consumption over time suggested that people who regularly consumed them—by drinking one or more artificially-sweetened beverages a day—had a higher risk for health issues like weight gain, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“I think there’s an assumption that when there are zero calories, there is zero harm,” says study author Meghan Azad, an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and child health at the University of Manitoba in Canada. “This research has made me appreciate that there’s more to it than calories alone.”

The new study adds to a growing body of research that suggests sugar substitutes are no magic bullet. “Unfortunately, the quality of evidence that would support using sweeteners is not really strong,” says Susan Swithers, a professor in the department of psychological studies at Purdue University who has also studied artificial sweeteners (but was not involved in the new study). “I think we are at a place where we can say that they don’t help.”

... READ MORE AT TIME.COM

Rethink what you throw on the barbecue

Although the ballpark staple is a popular summer food, hot dogs are definitely not a favorite among health professionals, who take issue with the low nutrition levels of the food and how hot dogs are processed.

A typical pork hot dog contains 204 calories and 18 g of total fat and 620 g of sodium — and this is before condiments like ketchup, mustard and relish are added.

Furthermore, eating hot dogs increases your chances of getting certain diseases. Hot dogs, like many processed meats, are linked to increased risks for health issues like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and higher mortality.

An analysis of the diets of 1,660 people found that the risk for getting bladder cancer went up with the amount of processed meats consumed. And a 2015 study found that eating processed foods made for a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes than eating red meat.

Of particular concern among health experts and doctors are nitrates, preservatives added to hot dogs from synthetic materials or natural sources that give the meat longer shelf life and more color. When digested, nitrates turn into nitrites, which have been linked to cancer in test subject animals.... READ MORE AT TIME.COM

Join Our Newsletter

Get Updates, Upcoming Themes Info, and Our Great Deals!