Artificial sweeteners make you hungrier
As well as promoting hyperactivity and insomnia, a new study co-led by the University of Sydney has found that artificial sweeteners actually increase feelings of hunger leading to higher calorific intake.
Professor Neely said: “Using this response to artificially sweetened diets, we were able to functionally map a new neuronal network that balances food’s palatability with energy content.
his is not the first time a link between
The pathway we discovered is part of a conserved
artificial sweeteners and increased hunger has been
starvation response that actually makes nutritious
suggested, but this new research has identified the
food taste better when you are starving.”
brain system that regulates response to sweetness in both insects and mammals.
The second phase of the study was designed to determine if the neuronal pathways observed
The first phase of the research was conducted
in fruit flies are also relevant to mammals.
at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of
Professor Herbert Herzog’s team at the Garvan
Sydney. Researchers laced the diet of fruit flies with
Institute of Medical Research exposed mice to
artificial sweetener and found that after prolonged
a sucralose-sweetened diet for seven days. The
exposure they consumed 30% more calories when
mice displayed remarkably similar results to the
their natural diet was reintroduced.
fruit flies, confirming the same neuronal pathway
The University of Sydney’s Associate Professor
was involved in regulating overall calorie intake.
Greg Neely stated: “We found that chronic
Professor Herzog said: “These findings further
consumption of this artificial sweetener actually
reinforce the idea that ‘sugar free’ varieties of
increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive
processed food and drink may not be as inert as
sugar, and this then increases the animal’s overall
we anticipated. Artificial sweeteners can actually
motivation to eat more food.”
change how animals perceive the sweetness of
The researchers determined that the brain’s
their food, with a discrepancy between sweetness
reward centre recalibrates the perceived ratio
and energy levels prompting an increase in caloric
of energy content to sweet sensation when the
sweetness to energy ratio is out of balance for prolonged periods.
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This research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - Aug/Sep 2016 | 23