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January 25, 2021 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Bad News for Sugar Substitutes

Dietary decision.

Sugar substitutes’ reputation as a useful tool for weight control and a “safe” substitute for sugar just received a major setback. In this study, scientists could not identify a sufficient level of evidence to indicate that sugar substitutes help us with weight control. To the contrary, the studies that followed individuals for the longest periods of time found that the use of sugar substitutes was tied to a higher risk of weight gain, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

This evaluation included 37 previously published studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for over ten years. Even though record numbers of Americans of all ages are using these (largely) industrial agents, their effectiveness and long term safety are dubious. Play it safe and use small amounts of the real thing (honey, molasses, and maple syrup are best) when you need a little sweetness.

Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2017; 189 (28): E929 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.161390

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