Experts Are Alarmed Over 200 Percent Increase In Children’s Artificial Sweeteners Consumption; Side Effects Remain Unclear?

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald January 11, 04:00 am
Packets of the popular sugar substitute Splenda are seen December 6, 2004 in New York City. A new study found out that children's usage of artificial sweeteners increased by 200 percent.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Artificial sweeteners became a fad for years now because of the low-calorie marketing strategy but scientists became more concern after they found that children's usage has increased to 200 percent.

The side effects of artificial sweeteners are not yet fully known. But the authors of the study contend that they hope people will avoid using it.

In a study released on Tuesday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Fox News reported researchers found there was a 200 percent increase in the consumption of artificial sweeteners among children and a 54 percent rise among adults. The data were from the years 1999 to 2012.

In the 1999 data, only 8.7 percent of children used these artificial sweeteners. But by 2012, that number increased to 25.1 percent.

Dr. Allison Sylvetsky, the lead study author and an assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, said in a press release that the findings are important because some studies have suggested that artificial sweeteners are linked to diabetes and obesity, New York Daily News reported. Sylvetsky and the other authors added parents sometimes mistake the labels saying that the product has light or no added sugar as little to no sugar at all but this actually means that artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar.

The parents are advised that artificial sweeteners are not healthier options and parents should just limit the consumption of sugary foods. Sylvetsky also noted that they cannot force people to avoid artificial sweeteners since there is not much evidence regarding the harmful effects of the products.

Sylvetsky, however, pointed out that there is also not much evidence to say that artificial sweeteners are helpful when it comes to a person's health. She suggested that parents should let their children drink water instead of soda and make a yogurt sweet by adding in fruits and not sugar. For adults, they should always consume a piece of fresh fruit.

Are you an artificial sweetener user? What is your take on this issue? Let us know in the comments!

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