According to recent study, the artificial sweeteners we use as substitutes for sugar may actually be making you eat more rather than helping you shed the extra kilos.
Owing to the less food energy provided by artificial sweeteners, they may make us eat more rather than lowering calorie intake. According to the researchers, the brain system responds to artificially sweetened food by telling the animal it hasn’t eaten enough energy, thus increasing the appetite and prompting them to actually eat more.
University of Sydney conducted a research where fruit flies and mice a diet including sucralose. The researchers found sucralose activated a neuronal pathway in the brains of both flies and mice associated with starvation, an evaluation buttressed by the observation of starvation-associated behaviors such as hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality in both experiments.
Lead researcher Greg Neely, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in Australia said, “After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more.”
The researchers also found artificial sweeteners promoted hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality - behaviours consistent with a mild starvation or fasting state - with similar effects on sleep also previously reported in human studies.
Artificial sweeteners can actually change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food, with a discrepancy between sweetness and energy levels prompting an increase in caloric consumption. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.