Researchers found sweeteners cause increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
ARTIFICIAL sweeteners may actually make people fat, a study has found.
Many dieters switch to the sugar substitutes to avoid the calories while still getting their sweet-tooth rush.
The sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, are used in thousands of diet products including drinks, desserts, ready meals, cakes, chewing gum and even toothpaste.
But researchers have now linked them to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Canadian team looked at 37 studies involving more than 400,000 people over an average of ten years.
They found no consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss — with trials suggesting they may actually harm the metabolism.
Lead author Assistant Professor Dr Meghan Azad, from the University of Manitoba, said: “In 2008, more than 30 per cent of Americans reported daily intake of non-nutritive sweeteners, and this proportion is increasing.
“Researchers have suggested that non-nutritive sweeteners may have adverse effects on glucose metabolism, gut microbiota and appetite control.