In Focus:

Artificial sweeteners may not be risk free

People hoping to lose a few pounds by substituting artificial sweeteners for regular sugar may end up disappointed, suggests a fresh look at past research.

The review of 37 studies suggests the use of so-called non-nutritive sweeteners could be linked to weight gain and other undesirable outcomes like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

"From all that research, there was no consistent evidence of a long term benefit from the sweetener, but there was evidence for weight gain and increased risks of other cardiometabolic outcomes," said lead author Meghan Azad, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and stevioside are growing increasingly

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