Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and stevioside are not associated with reduced BMI and may pose some risks, suggest a meta-analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Researchers identified 37 studies that looked at the effects of artificial sweeteners in 400,000 people over age 12.
In randomised trials with a median 6 months' follow-up, the primary outcome, BMI, was not associated with intake of artificial sweeteners. Three long-term cohort studies suggested a modest increase in BMI over time with increased artificial sweetener consumption. For secondary outcomes like weight, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, the observational studies again found higher risk with increased intake.