Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review

Adv Nutr. 2023 Jul;14(4):710-717. doi: 10.1016/j.advnut.2023.05.010. Epub 2023 May 13.


The consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) is increasing in some countries. However, some meta-analyses have found that habitual consumers of ASBs (compared with low or no consumption) had an increased risk on some health outcomes. We performed an umbrella review of meta-analyses to grade the credibility of the evidence of claimed observational associations between ASBs and health outcomes. Data were searched in Web of Science, Embase, and PubMed for systematic reviews published up to 25 May 2022, examining association between ASBs and any health outcomes. Certainty of the evidence for each health outcome was obtained based on statistical results of tests used in umbrella reviews. The AMSTAR-2 tool (16 items) was used to identify high-quality systematic reviews. Answers of each item were rated as yes, no, or partial yes (for a partial adherence to the standard). We included data from 11 meta-analyses with unique population, exposure, comparison group, outcome obtained from 7 systematic reviews (51 cohort studies and 4 case-control studies). ASBs were associated with higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, all-cause mortality, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease incidence (supported by highly suggestive evidence). Evidence for other outcomes (colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, cancer mortality, cardiovascular mortality, chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, and stroke) was weak. Results of the quality assessment of systematic reviews using AMSTAR-2 showed some notable deficiencies: unclear sources of funding of eligible studies and lack of predefined study protocols to guide authors. The consumption of ASBs was associated with a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, all-cause mortality, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease incidence. However, further cohort studies and clinical trials in humans are still needed to understand the impact of ASBs on health outcomes.

Keywords: acefulsame potassium; artificially sweetened beverages; microbiota; sucralose; umbrella review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificially Sweetened Beverages / adverse effects
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic


  • Sweetening Agents