There is no evidence to show the health benefits of sugar sweeteners and possible damage can not be ruled out, according to a new review of the studies published in The BMJ.
Although many non-sugar sweeteners have been approved for use, fewer are known about their potential benefits and harm within acceptable daily hiring because evidence is often limited and conflicting.
To better understand these potential benefits and losses, a team of European researchers analyzed 56 studies comparing the intake or lower intake of sweeteners with higher intakes in healthy adults and children.
Measures included weight, blood glucose control (glycemic), oral health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood and behavior. Studies have been made of bias and certainty of evidence.
Overall, the results show that, for most results, there were no statistically or clinically significant differences between those exposed to non-sugar sweeteners and those not exposed, or between different doses of non-sugar sweeteners.
For example, in adults, the findings from some small studies suggested minor improvements in body mass index and fasting blood glucose levels with sugar-free sweeteners, but the certainty of these data was low.
In children, a lesser increase in the body mass index with sugar-free sweeteners was observed compared to sugar, but the intake of non-sugar sweeteners did not show differences in body weight.
And there was no good indication of any effect of sugar-free sweeteners on overweight or obese adults or on children trying to lose weight.
Researchers point out that this is the most comprehensive review of this issue to date and will update a World Health Organization guideline for health professionals and policy makers.