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Artifical Sweetners…A Downhill Slope to Obesity…Not at all What You were Told!!

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So you thought that using that Splenda or Equal or Sweet n Low was going to help you enjoy something sweet without the calories, right?  That we could enjoy an upside…sweetness….without any of the downside….fat.  Unfortunately, it would appear that’s not the case.

Studies over a couple of decades have demonstrated that people who use artificial sweeteners gain more weight over time than those who don’t consume such sweeteners.  It’s an interesting finding and had many scientists and nutritionists asking “Why?” for quite a while.  Well, a new piece of research recently published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, is showing how that’s exactly the case.  Simply put, these sweeteners (and this study looked at Sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda) aren’t merely as inert or non-causative of any response inside the body.  It turns out that in the part of the brain where pleasure registers (That would be that great feeling when you’re eating that pie and say, “Yummmmm!”) there is also a mechanism that measures the amount of energy/calories associated with it.  What that means is if the amount of stimulation to the pleasure centers doesn’t match up to an amount of energy…it actually stimulates the hunger mechanism to increase the desire for more food!!

When test subjects (lab animals) were place on diets including Sucralose for a 5 to 7 day period and provided no foods with naturally occurring sugars.  Then they were given food that was naturally sweetened thereafter.  Wow….in the timeframe after the Sucralose use, they consumed 30% FEWER calories (less food) than when they were on the zero calorie artificial sweetener!!  Amazing!!

Professor Greg Neely, of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science and contributor to the research said, ” When we investigated why animals were eating more even though they had enough calories, we found that chronic consumption of this artificial sweetener actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar and this then increases the animal’s overall motivation to eat more food”!    The bottom line to what he’s saying is that artificial sweeteners change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food and this is accompanied by a discrepancy between and energy levels…this then prompts an actual increase in caloric consumption.

This is incredible news!  People who are simply trying to lose weight, diabetics looking to control sugar intake (but will actually cause an increase in weight and, thus, a worsening of their diabetic presentation!) or people simply trying to be healthier by eating less sugar will need to rethink the use of such artificial sweeteners.

Maybe consumption of things artificial just isn’t such a great idea….

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