Light drinks, light yogurts, light cakes ... products containing sweeteners are everywhere on supermarket shelves. If they are without "real sugar", they would not be harmless so far. US researchers show that the consumption of sweeteners is associated with the risk of diabetes and obesity.
Light products have the coast. Especially because they contain sweeteners that can replace sugar, such as sucralose or aspartame. One in five French people consume a product containing aspartame at least once a week.
But if these products do not contain sugar per se, they would not be safe. On the contrary, consuming it means "going from bad to worse". US researchers unveil a study that shows that consuming so-called "zero calorie" products can result in obesity and diabetes.
A comparison between real and fake sugar
The study was conducted by researchers at the Wisconsin School of Medicine in the United States. They compared the effects of sugar and sweeteners on cell cultures and rats. For three weeks, sugar (in the form of glucose or fructose) and sweeteners (aspartame or acesulfame potassium) were added to the diets of the rats, divided into different groups.
According to their findings, "false sugars" alter the way the body ingests fat and provides energy. Thus, acesulfame potassium accumulates in the blood. If the consumption of this sweetener is strong, it can degrade the cells lining the blood vessels. For researchers, sweeteners, by causing vascular problems and altering the self-regulation of the human body, can trigger or aggravate obesity and diabetes.
Old doubts about "light" foods
This is not the only study to question the consequences of the consumption of "false sugars". Research published last March by Obesity facts showed that light drinks were associated with obesity in children or adults. The consumption of sweeteners could also increase the feeling of hunger, so directly affect the intake of calories and eventually lead to overweight or obesity.
Another study conducted this time in Sweden in 2016, wondered about the links between these drinks and diabetes. According to the researchers, these drinks disrupt the gut microbiota, the set of bacteria that help digestion. Their results showed that the risk of type 2 diabetes is the same as consuming drinks with real sugar or light drinks. From two drinks per day, the risk of type 2 diabetes is doubled.
6.5 million obese people in France
Diabetes is a disorder of the use and storage of sugars in the body. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, which is an insufficient secretion of insulin, and type 2 diabetes, a resistance of the body's cells to the effects of insulin, which leads to too much blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of cases.
It is estimated that in France, 6.5 million people are affected by obesity, which represents 14.5% of the adult population. According to Inserm, on a worldwide scale, this rate is 35%.