Sugar-Free But at risk: light refreshments, at the point of view

Spring is noticeable and the terraces recover their real reason to be: Allow us to take the aperitif in the sun. So one goes out into the street, sits at one of the few free tables and faces an important decision. Do you Ask For something healthy or give it all, that life is two days? Better first. You decant for a soda, but light, and some toasted almonds. But What for one is a good choice for health might not be so much in the eyes of scientists... And it's not about the almonds.

According To Recent research, which has put the effects of sweeteners under the spotlight, excessive consumption of sweetened soft drinks could have negative health consequences. The researchers examined the association between sugar-free beverages, stroke and coronary artery disease in a group of 82,000 postmenopausal American women, aged 50 to 79 years. After 12 years of follow-up, the results showed that, although only 5.1% of participants drank two or more sweetened beverages a day, that group had a 23% higher risk of stroke and 29% higher heart disease than the Women who seldom or never drank dietary beverages.

All the experts consulted in this article agree on the importance and interest of the study, but also on the need to take the results cautiously. "This is a very important study because of the size of the sample and the long follow-up, although it has several limitations", says the president of the Section Of Ischemic heart disease And Cardiovascular Acute Care Of The Spanish Society of Cardiology, Esteban López de Sá and Areses.

One more suspicion, but the evidence is still missing

The first limitation is that scientists only included postmenopausal women, says the expert, although he claims that "there is no basis for thinking that the results could be different in men or women of childbearing age." the second is that "the consumption of these beverages has not been measured directly but has been taken into account what women were referring to in questionnaires, which were filled at different times in the study, and it is certain that the patterns of consumption varied throughout the Time, which was not analyzed, "emphasizes the specialist.

In Addition, the investigation shows a correlation and not a relation causes effect, which leaves the door open to many explanations. "People who consume more beverages, do they have more weight? Worse diet? There May be more factors "that explain the results," refers the biochemist and molecular biologist of The Polytechnic University Of Valencia Josep Maria mulet.

However, the Endocrinóloga Paloma Gil coincides with the authors of the new study in that "there is a clear relationship between the high consumption of soft drinks or without calories and the increase of undesirable vascular events, such as cardiac infarct or Cerebral. " With These wickers, it is normal that the conclusions of the scientists desconcierten to the placid client of the terraces, and it is asked: Then the sweetened sodas are bad for the health? Are They acceptable as long as you consume less than two a day? Does Anyone know what I have to ask?

The answer could be in the microbes

The correlation of the consumption of soft drinks sweetened with the problems in the health is not new, the scientific community knows it years ago. According to López de Sá and Areses, several studies had already been done "with similar results", to which the Endocrinóloga Paloma Gil added that "there are more and more jobs that relate the regular consumption of food or beverages with sweeteners with metabolic alterations such as Increased adiposity (increased body fat), intolerance to glucose and pre-diabetes.

In 2013, for example, a group of researchers from Purdue University in the United States said in an article that people who substitute sugar with sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, all legal in Spain, also have a increased risk of weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The motive, according to an interesting hypothesis, could be in the intestine.

A study published in the Journal Nature Links The consumption of artificial sweeteners with the development of intolerance to glucose through the induction of alterations of intestinal microbiota. "It Is known that sweeteners can produce some effects at the metabolic level because they alter the microbiota of the intestine and stimulate some insulin secretion," confirms the dietitian-nutritionist Pablo Zumaquero.

But in the most recent meta-analysis of the effects of sweeteners on the weight of children and adults, the results were less alarming. no clear differences were found on the health of the people they consumed compared with those who did not, although their authors admit that the quality of the research done to date is not excessively good.

Sweeteners deceive the brain with its sweetness

from the point of view of food security, we should not worry about the effects of these compounds. "They do Not make an obvious direct damage to health, they are not poisonous as it has come to be said," says Zumaquero. But They're not safe either. On the one hand, its extreme sweetness alters our perception of the flavors, "and in the end people stop eating fruit because it does not consider it sweet enough," he says... Another deplane to a food that many choose based on its outward appearance.

"They Produce in the brain an incomplete activation of satisfaction which, in the long run, drives them to eat more. In fact, just for being sweets would incite those who consume them to eat sweeter and to be more dependent on food with these characteristics, "Gil adds. On the other hand, do not forget the cultural factor of consumption of sodas: the same way you maridamos a fish in the oven with a good white wine, a controversial hamburger with potatoes takes a thousand wonders with a soda.

It Strikes to mention the effects of neuromarketing in our perception of the healthy. For more "sugar-free" marketed a food, it can eventually contain "other ingredients that are still not ideal," says Zumaquero. And It can give us the false confidence "that light refreshments could be safe by providing fewer calories," adds López de Sá and areses.

There is Not a recommended daily dose and that is not so good

Both The results of this study and the previous research on artificial sweeteners have put into the pillory these additives widely used by the food industry. Is excessive alarmism, a fad, or are they justified warnings? The essence gives the explanations offered by the experts consulted, as well as the conclusions that are distilled from the main scientific studies, are the same: do not have to demonize, much needs to be investigated, but moderation is the best option.

there Is no recommended dose of soft drinks with sweeteners that is healthy. "Better to drink a sweetened beverage than one with 30 grams of sugar, but in no case as a substitute for water, which is the best soda that exists," recommends the biochemist Mulet. Since the Spanish Society of Cardiology confirms that "a moderate consumption of up to 4 refreshments per week could be safe", which is well below the two newspapers that the new study has taken into account. And you have to keep in mind that sweeteners are not good for slimming.

Endocrinóloga Paloma Gil insists that they are not harmless and sends a message about the future dietary limitations of these products. "We Must begin to convey to people that light or sweetened products are not suitable for weight loss or to prevent disease. In This study, the undesirable effects are observed from the consumption of two light refreshments daily, but if we consider that in our society even children take sweetened products from childhood, we will have to study what is the Recommended minimum consumption. "

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