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Home > Anti-aging Research > Aspartame

Aspartame & other sugar substitutes

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  • Oxidative stress evoked damages on rat sperm and attenuated antioxidant status on consumption of aspartame - Int J Impot Res. 2017 Apr 27 - "Result suggest that there was a significant increase glutathione-s-transferase (GST), with a significant decrease in reduced glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase activity (SOD), glutathione peroxidase levels (GPx), catalase activity (CAT) and glutathione reductase concentration. The increase in free radicals generation could have ultimately caused the lipid peroxidation mediated damages on the testis. Aspartame treated animals also revealed the reduced space in seminiferous tubules, which resulted in reduced Leydig cells when compared with control in histopathology. These findings demonstrate that aspartame metabolites could be a contributing factor for development of oxidative stress in the epididymal sperm"
  • Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study - Stroke. 2017 Apr 20 - "When comparing daily cumulative intake to 0 per week (reference), the hazard ratios were 2.96 (95% confidence interval, 1.26-6.97) for ischemic stroke and 2.89 (95% confidence interval, 1.18-7.07) for Alzheimer's disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages were not associated with stroke or dementia"
  • Diet sodas may be tied to stroke, dementia risk  - CNN, 4/20/17 - "Compared to never drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks, those who drank one a day were almost three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, the researchers found ... They also found that those who drank one a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia ... Those who drank one to six artificially sweetened beverages a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke but were no more likely to develop dementia" - [AHA] [Science Daily]
  • Why artificial sweeteners can increase appetite - Science Daily, 7/12/16 - "After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more ... Through systematic investigation of this effect, we found that inside the brain's reward centres, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content. When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed ... chronic consumption of this artificial sweetener actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar, and this then increases the animal's overall motivation to eat more food ... The researchers also found artificial sweeteners promoted hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality -- behaviours consistent with a mild starvation or fasting state -- with similar effects on sleep also previously reported in human studies"
  • Soft drink consumption, mainly diet ones, is associated with increased blood pressure in adolescents - J Hypertens. 2015 Dec 16 - "SBP was 5.4 mmHg higher in the diet soft drink consumers group compared with the nonconsumers group and 3.3 mmHg higher compared with the sugar-sweetened consumers group (P value of trend = 0.01). Moreover, DBP was also higher among diet soft drink consumers compared with nonconsumers, with a difference of 3.3 mmHg, and compared with sugar-sweetened consumers, with a difference of 2.3 mmHg"
  • Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome: A Two Sample Comparison - Nutrients. 2015 May 13 - "In both studies, individuals who consumed at least one soft drink per day had a higher prevalence of MetS, than non-consumers. This was most evident for consumers of diet soft drinks, consistent across both studies. Diet soft drink intakes were also positively associated with waist circumference and fasting plasma glucose in both studies. Despite quite different consumption patterns of diet versus regular soft drinks in the two studies, findings from both support the notion that diet soft drinks are associated with a higher prevalence of MetS"
  • Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging - J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Mar 17 - "diet soda (DS) intake (DSI) ... In a striking dose-response relationship, increasing DSI was associated with escalating abdominal obesity, a potential pathway for cardiometabolic risk in this aging population"
  • Diet soda linked to increases in belly fat in older adults - Science Daily, 3/17/15 - "The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) enrolled 749 Mexican- and European-Americans who were aged 65 and older at the start of the study (1992-96) ... the increase in waist circumference among diet soda drinkers, per follow-up interval, was almost triple that among non-users: 2.11 cm versus 0.77 cm, respectively. After adjustment for multiple potential confounders, interval waist circumference increases were 0.77 cm for non-users, 1.76 cm for occasional users, and 3.04 cm for daily users. This translates to waist circumference increases of 0.80 inches for non-users, 1.83 inches for occasional users, and 3.16 inches for daily users over the total 9.4-year SALSA follow-up period"
  • Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body's Blood Sugar Controls - NYTimes.com, 9/17/14 - "In the initial set of experiments, the scientists added saccharin (the sweetener in the pink packets of Sweet’N Low), sucralose (the yellow packets of Splenda) or aspartame (the blue packets of Equal) to the drinking water of 10-week-old mice. Other mice drank plain water or water supplemented with glucose or with ordinary table sugar. After a week, there was little change in the mice who drank water or sugar water, but the group getting artificial sweeteners developed marked intolerance to glucose ... Glucose intolerance, in which the body is less able to cope with large amounts of sugar, can lead to more serious illnesses like metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes ... When the researchers treated the mice with antibiotics, killing much of the bacteria in the digestive system, the glucose intolerance went away ... It also suggests probiotics — medicines consisting of live bacteria — could be used to shift gut bacteria to a population that reversed the glucose intolerance" - [How Can Diet Sodas Make You Fat? Study May Explain It - NBC News] - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.
  • Diet beverages not the solution for weight loss - Science Daily, 1/17/14 - "Artificial sweeteners, which are present in high doses in diet soda, are associated with a greater activation of reward centers in the brain, thus altering the reward a person experiences from sweet tastes. In other words, among people who drink diet soda, the brain's sweet sensors may no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption because the artificial sweetener disrupts appetite control. As a result, consumption of diet drinks may result in increased food intake overall"
  • Brain Cannot Be Fooled by Artificial Sweeteners; Higher Likelihood of Sugar Consumption Later - Science Daily, 9/23/13 - "According to the data, when we apply substances that interfere with a critical step of the ‘sugar-to-energy pathway’, the interest of the animals in consuming artificial sweetener decreases significantly, along with important reductions in brain dopamine levels"
  • The Dark Side of Artificial Sweeteners: Expert Reviews Negative Impact - Science Daily, 7/10/13 - "Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome -- a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. As a result, many Americans have turned to artificial sweeteners, which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but contain few, if any, calories. However, studies in humans have shown that consumption of artificially sweetened beverages is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome as well as cardiovascular disease. As few as one of these drinks per day is enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems ... studies in mice and rats have shown that consumption of noncaloric sweeteners dampens physiological responses to sweet taste, causing the animals to overindulge in calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food and pack on extra pounds"
  • Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes in the Etude Epidemiologique aupres des femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l'Education Nationale-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort - Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan 30 - "It has been extensively shown, mainly in US populations, that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but less is known about the effects of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) ... A total of 66,118 women were followed from 1993, and 1369 incident cases of T2D were diagnosed during the follow-up ... Compared with nonconsumers, women in the highest quartiles of SSB and ASB consumers were at increased risk of T2D with HRs (95% CIs) of 1.34 (1.05, 1.71) and 2.21 (1.56, 3.14) for women who consumed >359 and >603 mL/wk of SSBs and ASBs, respectively. Strong positive trends in T2D risk were also observed across quartiles of consumption for both types of beverage (P = 0.0088 and P < 0.0001, respectively) ... No association was observed for 100% fruit juice consumption"
  • Hold the diet soda? Sweetened drinks linked to depression, coffee tied to lower risk - Science Daily, 1/8/13 - "The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000 ... People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea"
  • Caffeinated and caffeine-free beverages and risk of type 2 diabetes - Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov 14 - "observed 74,749 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS, 1984-2008) and 39,059 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS, 1986-2008) ... sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and carbonated artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) ... caffeinated and caffeine-free SSB intake was significantly associated with a higher risk of T2D in the NHS (RR per serving: 13% for caffeinated SSB, 11% for caffeine-free SSB; P < 0.05) and in the HPFS (RR per serving: 16% for caffeinated SSB, 23% for caffeine-free SSB; P < 0.01). Only caffeine-free ASB intake in NHS participants was associated with a higher risk of T2D (RR: 6% per serving; P < 0.001). Conversely, the consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk of T2D [RR per serving: 8% for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in the NHS (P < 0.0001) and 4% for caffeinated and 7% for decaffeinated coffee in the HPFS (P < 0.01)]. Only caffeinated tea was associated with a lower T2D risk among NHS participants"
  • Diet soda is doing these 7 awful things to your body - Today Health, 10/18/12 - "even just one diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome ... the more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Downing just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500% ... Cell Damage Diet sodas contain something many regular sodas don't: mold inhibitors. They go by the names sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate, and they're in nearly all diet sodas"
  • Are diet soft drinks bad for you? - Science Daily, 1/31/12 - "Individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death ... in contrast, they found that regular soft drink consumption and a more moderate intake of diet soft drinks do not appear to be linked to a higher risk of vascular events ... those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none"
  • Waistlines in people, glucose levels in mice hint at sweeteners' effects: Related studies point to the illusion of the artificial - Science Daily, 6/27/11 - "In the constant battle to lose inches or at least stay the same, we reach for the diet soda. Two studies presented June 25 and 27 at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in San Diego suggest this might be self-defeating behavior ... diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, and a second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose (blood sugar) in diabetes-prone mice ... The average follow-up time was 9.5 years ... Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users ... In the related project ... One group of the mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; the other group ate chow with the corn oil added but not the aspartame. After three months on this high-fat diet, the mice in the aspartame group showed elevated fasting glucose levels but equal or diminished insulin levels, consistent with early declines in pancreatic beta-cell function"
  • Fat substitutes linked to weight gain: Rats on high-fat diet gained more weight after eating low-calorie potato chips made with fat substitutes - Science Daily, 6/20/11 - "Half of the rats in each group also were fed Pringles potato chips that are high in fat and calories. The remaining rats in each group were fed high-calorie Pringles chips on some days and low-calorie Pringles Light chips on other days. The Pringles Light chips are made with olestra, a synthetic fat substitute that has zero calories and passes through the body undigested ... For rats on the high-fat diet, the group that ate both types of potato chips consumed more food, gained more weight and developed more fatty tissue than the rats that ate only the high-calorie chips. The fat rats also didn't lose the extra weight even after the potato chips were removed from their diet. "Based on this data, a diet that is low in fat and calories might be a better strategy for weight loss than using fat substitutes," ... Food with a sweet or fatty taste usually indicates a large number of calories, and the taste triggers various responses by the body, including salivation, hormonal secretions and metabolic reactions. Fat substitutes can interfere with that relationship when the body expects to receive a large burst of calories but is fooled by a fat substitute ... Swithers and Davidson have reported similar findings in previous rat studies that showed saccharin and other artificial sweeteners also can promote weight gain and increased body fat"
  • Diet soda may raise odds of vascular events; Salt linked to stroke risk - Science Daily, 2/9/11 - "In findings involving 2,564 people in the large, multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), scientists said people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking ... In separate research using 2,657 participants also in the Manhattan study, scientists found that high salt intake, independent of the hypertension it causes, was linked to a dramatically increased risk of ischemic strokes (when a blood vessel blockage cuts off blood flow to the brain)"
  • US EPA removes saccharin from hazardous substances listing - Science Daily, 12/14/10
  • Drinking Tea May Trim Men's Waistlines - WebMD, 1/29/10 - "In men, the use of sugar in tea was associated with a nearly 1-inch smaller waist measurement, but the use of artificial sweeteners was linked to a nearly 2-inch larger waistline ... Among women, the use of milk in tea was associated with a two-thirds-of-an-inch smaller waistline. But women who used artificial sweeteners had an average of nearly an inch larger waistline" - See green tea extract at Amazon.com.
  • Diet Sodas May Be Hard on the Kidneys - WebMD, 11/2/09 - "Women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 30% drop in a measure of kidney function during the lengthy study follow-up ... Thirty percent is considered significant ... Put another way: the women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a decline in their glomerular filtration rate, a measure of kidney function, of 3 milliliters per minute per year. ''With natural aging, kidney function declines about 1 mL per minute per year after age 40"
  • Daily Diet Soda Consumption Linked to Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes - Medscape, 2/11/09 - "Compared with participants who did not drink diet soda, those who drank diet soda at least daily had a 36% greater relative risk for incident MetSyn (HR, 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11 - 1.66) and a 67% greater relative risk for incident type 2 diabetes"
  • New Salvo in Splenda Skirmish - New York Times, 9/22/08 - "Splenda — the grainy white crystals in the little yellow packets — contributes to obesity, destroys “good” intestinal bacteria and prevents prescription drugs from being absorbed"
  • Truvia, a new, natural, zero-calorie sweetener made from the stevia plant, is making its debut online and in certain supermarkets in New York - WebMD, 7/10/08 - "Truvia, a new, natural, zero-calorie sweetener made from the stevia plant, is making its debut online and in certain supermarkets in New York"
  • Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Weight Gain - Science Daily, 2/10/08 - "relative to rats that ate yogurt sweetened with glucose (a simple sugar with 15 calories/teaspoon, the same as table sugar), rats given yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin later consumed more calories, gained more weight, put on more body fat, and didn't make up for it by cutting back later, all at levels of statistical significance"
  • Severe Weight Loss Can Be Caused By Chewing Gum, Doctors Report - Science Daily, 1/11/08 - "sorbitol consumption can cause not only chronic diarrhoea and functional bowel complaints but also considerable unintended weight loss (about 20% of usual body weight)"
  • Sweetener Side Effects: Case Histories - WebMD, 1/10/08
  • Aspartame Deemed Safe By Expert Panel - Science Daily, 9/15/07
  • 1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease - WebMD, 7/23/07 - "Drinking just one soft drink a day -- whether diet or regular -- may boost your risk of getting heart disease ... drinking one or more sodas a day was linked with a 44% higher risk of participants developing metabolic syndrome"
  • Aspartame Safety Study Stirs Emotions - WebMD, 6/26/07
  • EU: Sugar substitute poses no cancer risk - USA Today, 5/5/06
  • Aspartame-Cancer Link Refuted - WebMD, 4/4/06
  • New Study Suggests Artificial Sweetener Causes Cancer In Rats At Levels Currently Approved For Humans - Science Daily, 2/13/06 - "aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic compound whose carcinogenic effects are also evident at a daily dose of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg), notably less than the current acceptable daily intake for humans"
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Are They Safe? - ABC News, 2/13/06
  • Rat Study Shows Cancer, Aspartame Link - WebMD, 11/18/05
  • Rat Study Links Aspartame to Cancer - Science Daily, 7/29/05
  • Sweetener 'linked' to leukaemias - BBC News, 7/14/05 - "Compared with control rats given no sweetener, many of the female rats in the experiment developed lymphomas or leukaemias - the risk increasing with the dose of aspartame"
  • Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight - WebMD, 6/13/05
  • Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe? - WebMD, 3/25/05
  • Beware of More Deceptive Splenda Propaganda - mercola.com, 3/16/05
  • Sweetener in the Spotlight: Is Splenda Safe? - WebMD, 2/16/05 - "there are currently only a handful of studies that question Splenda's safety and more than 100 which attest to it's safe use ... it simply hasn't been around long enough to amass any long-term data -- or even short-term data involving heavy consumption"
  • Consumer Group Questions Splenda's Claims - mercola.com, 1/17/05
  • Study: Fake Sweeteners Boost Rats' Eating - Intelihealth, 7/8/04
  • Sugar Alternatives: Separating the Sweet from the Chaff - Natural Foods Merchandiser, 7/04
  • Artificial Sweeteners May Damage Diet Efforts - WebMD, 6/30/04
  • Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body's Ability To Count Calories, According To New Study - Science Daily, 6/30/04
  • The skinny on sweeteners - MSNBC, 1/1/04 - "Based on what sweeteners are available now, my choice is Splenda, or sucralose, when used by itself" - See Splendaicon at drugstore.com.
  • How Safe Are the Sugar Substitutes? - Time, 9/15/03 - "I think that sucralose is safe, that aspartame is probably safe and that serious questions about saccharin remain"
  • Aspartame: Can a Little Bit Hurt? - Dr. Weil, 9/25/02
  • A Safer Sweetener? [Splenda/sucralose] - Dr. Weil, 5/22/02 - See Splendaicon at drugstore.com.
  • Read the Deadly Truth about Aspartame
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