Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Appetite
About a year ago we reported on a study linking diet soda consumption with greater abdominal obesity, possibly because artificial sweeteners don’t activate hormones in the same way that real sugars do. Now, 2016 research published in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine digs further into the underlying mechanisms of artificial sweeteners finding even more evidence that fake sugar may fuel hunger and overeating.
Researchers in Australia fed fruit flies either a normal diet sweetened with real sucrose sugar or the same diet plus artificial sweetener (sucralose). After a few days they took the fake sugar out of the diet and monitored food intake. Flies that ate the artificial sweetener for more than five days ended up eating more, but after three days back on the regular diet the overeating stopped.
Looking deeper into the mechanisms at play, researchers found the flies eating artificial sweeteners had impaired glucose tolerance, increased insulin production and altered sweet taste receptors. Unlike sugar, which provides 16 calories per teaspoon, artificial sweeteners bring sweet taste without the calories. This may seem good, but it could be a different story in your body. When you eat something sweet, your brain expects energy too. When the calories aren’t there, systems could go haywire, and the result may be an urge to keep eating.**
Of course, this study was just in fruit flies so more research is needed to determine if this would happen in humans.
With Halloween this month and candy season in full swing, don’t be tricked by the sugar-free labels. We suggest treating yourself with the real deal instead—an ounce of dark chocolate, or sweets made with honey. Better yet, satisfy your cravings with naturally sweet fruit! Our Pumpkin Spice Frozen Swirl is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and bananas and is the perfect dessert to savor this fall.
**NOTE: For those diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, insulin resistance already exists. If you have diabetes or a pre-existing condition, speak with your health care provider for personalized dietary recommendations.
October 1, 2016