Consuming food and drink containing artificial sweeteners could lead to weight gain and heighten the risk of suffering from health issues including diabetes, scientists claim.
A large-scale study on the effects of the sugar substitute found it can potentially negatively impact on a person's metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.
Sweeteners are widely used as a low-calorie alternative to sugar, but researchers fear its 'perceived slimming abilities' have been overblown.
Instead it could lead to relatively increased threats of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity, the study claims.
But the findings were dismissed by industry bosses, who said the no-calorie ingredients had been "deemed safe" by health regulators across the world.
Scientists from the University of Manitoba, Canada, reviewed 37 studies following more than 400,000 people for an average of 10 years to unpick the realities behind artificial sweeteners.
[It has been found that] scientific evidence does "not clearly support" its intended weight-loss benefits, one author of the paper, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said.
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