Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweeteners are risky? Studies cannot show the answer

Artificial sweeteners have been very common in the modern world. As they include no sugar, it is considered you can take it without worry about becoming obese. Beverages containing sweeteners instead of sugar are popular as “zero calorie drink,” and many people enjoy them.

However, it is doubtful whether some sweeteners are completely safe. Some researchers claim that excessive taking of sweeteners can cause troubles on your body. Their adverse effects are varied from increased risk of diabetes to direct damage on the kidney.

But, it is also not likely that sweeteners are absolutely harmful. Indeed, the health risk of taking excessive sugar is frequently mentioned in recent days. It is still unsure which is safer, as we have used artificial sweeteners for only some decades.

Many researchers have conducted a study to prove the safety or risk of sweeteners. You can easily read their outcomes on many academic journals. However, you should be aware of the possibility of biased, or even twisted results of each study.

Conflict of interest is a major problem to infringe the value of research. If your study examining the effect of a drug is funded by a pharmaceutical company providing the drug, you should disclose the fact in advance to explain the result of the study. Otherwise, you will lose the trust of readers and other researchers.

A recent study indicated the great influence of sponsors on the result of studies. Researchers at the University of Sydney conducted a meta-analysis of several clinical trials published in the past. The result suggested a considerable influence of sponsors on each study.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Is artificial sweetener safe? It depends who you believe

According to the authors, every study funded by sweetener companies suggested the safety of aspartame, whereas 92 percent of independently funded studies warned its adverse effects.

Also, it can be estimated that studies funded by a sugar company show the risk of artificial sweeteners because sugar is competitive to sweeteners.

Therefore, shall we ignore any results of research? Of course, not. There are many studies excellently constructed and whose results are trustworthy regardless of the nature of founders. However, distinguishing them from other junk studies is not easy. Adequate knowledge and skills are needed to assess the true quality of each paper. The sense of critical appraisal is a basic skill of researchers. But, it is the matter that most researchers have no enough time to review other researchers’ work without overlooking erroneous process.

This situation will be improved, I think. Nowadays, many people not limited to specialists can read academic articles on the internet. Some readers detected critical flaws in the article accepted to a popular academic journal. Non-specialized people can also be good critics. Shortly, almost all academic articles will be exposed to the eyes of astronomical numbers of people to be ratified.

By the way, I do not think sweeteners are so risky. I take it occasionally, but not so frequently.

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