A new paper published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that studies of artificial sweeteners show no benefits from making the switch, and the sugar alternatives may cause problems on their own.

A total of seven studies the researchers examined were randomized controlled trials, the most rigorous method, and showed no consistent effects of abandoning sugar for the fake stuff.

“Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products,” said Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor of health science at University of Manitoba and co-author of the study.

An additional 30 longitudinal studies tracked consumers of artificial sweeteners for an average of 10 years, and these studies found that fake sugars were tied to a higher risk of weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other issues.

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