Sugar-free Sweeteners Increase Diabetes Risk

Diet fizzy drinkers, beware. Recent epidemiological studies have confirmed that the sweeteners used in diet fizzy and other lite drinks increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Often asymptomatic, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and is most often found among people who are overweight and sedentary.

Just-published research results from France show people who ''always or almost always'' add sweeteners to their drinks - in sachet or tablet form - had an 83% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who use them ''never or rarely''.

Aspartame, the most commonly used sweetener, and, more recently, sucralose (aka Splenda), have been used to replace sugar in so-called ''diet'' fizzy for over 30 years.

Even though the quantity of artificial sweeteners in our diet has increased massively in recent years as industrial manufacturers add them with growing abandon to not just drinks but also cereals, biscuits, cakes, low-calorie yogurts and even certain medicines, reliable and precise data on their health impacts are rare.

Such products are marketed as low-calorie alternatives that are therefore healthy. This perception encourages consumers to overuse sweeteners to avoid putting on weight. But, even in moderation, these additives can have negative effects on health.

Today, sweeteners are increasingly controversial, and suspected of contributing to weight gain and being carcinogenic.

This has independent researchers across the world seeking to measure their real effects on health, particularly their impact on metabolic diseases.