(INDEPENDENT) — Artificial sweeteners are found in a plethora of products from cough syrups to salad dressings, but new research claims that the sugar alternative could actually lead to weight gain.

The chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity are linked to consuming artificial sweeteners, according to the new large-scale study on the effects of the sugar substitute.

The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Manitoba, Canada and reviewed data from 37 studies which analysed more than 400,000 people for an average period of 10 years.

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