Sugar is probably one of the worst drugs that we can abuse. The global obesity epidemic is testament to that. Many people have turned to sugar alternatives because of this, hoping to cut sugar out of their diet as much as possible at the prospect of leading a healthier lifestyle.
But as it turns out, artificial sweeteners just made the list of things that actually make us eat more, according to research from the University of Sydney.
Their study focused largely on the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners and was recently published in the Cell Metabolism journal. Greg Neely, lead researchers and genomics expert, said this in a press statement:
“We found that inside the brain’s reward centres, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content. When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed.”
To study this effect, researchers changed the diet of fruit flies for a prolonged period of time. For five days, researchers laced the fruit flies’ diet with an artificially sweetened substance. After the five days was over, researchers discovered that fruit flies with an artificially sweetened diet actually ate about 30 percent more calories than usual.
To see if the results stayed consistent for mammals, the same experiment was conducted using mice, and again, the same results were discovered. Particularly, they found that these mice “displayed a significant increase in food consumption, and the neuronal pathway involved was the same as in the fruit flies.”
At the moment, artificial sweeteners are often prescribed to “treat” people with obesity, but obviously, the science supporting this practice is waning. Critics of this study say that these results are not accurate because of the simplistic nature of the experiment, claiming that it does not take into account a human’s vast and complex diet.
Maybe we should all just err on the side of safety and stop drinking sugary beverages as much as possible. If you can’t find the strength to part ways with your sweet drinks, try drinking less of them. Diet soda might not be the best solution.
What do you think?
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