Do Artificial Sweeteners Really Help in Weight Reduction?


In todays day and age of aggressive marketing, every product being advertised seems to be right and more or less tailor made for us to make our lives simpler. But did you ever wonder if in all try sense if these were doing good  to you or have a more harmful effect on your body? The major spoilsport in your quest for health lifestyle is our urge to have sweet food more often and its quite difficult for us to control our sweet cravings.

So that kind of led to firms starting to advertise that the artificial sweeteners are your go to products. Initially these were being aimed at people suffering from Diabetes, but it no longer seems to curtail its target audience just to that. They are pitching the artificial sweeteners to fitness freaks saying that its quite alright to give in to the sweet tooth cravings and include the artificial sweeteners in your diet which according to them does not lead to putting on extra calories like the regular sweeteners.

But the bad news here is that the artificial sweeteners have also been found to promote weight gain, in more ways than one. You may be relying on them to shed those extra kilos, but turns out, artificial sweeteners may actually be making you eat more. A comprehensive new study co-led by the University of Sydney has revealed for the first time why this response occurs. The results shed light on the effects of artificial sweeteners on the brain in regulating appetite and in altering taste perceptions. Researchers identified a new system in the brain that senses and integrates the sweetness and energy content of food.



A researcher working on this subject claims, "Through systematic investigation of this effect, 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. After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more".

One of the reasons why artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight relates to the fact that your body is not fooled by sweet taste without accompanying calories.
When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain's reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are "full" once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn't contain any calories, your brain's pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste,but there's nothing to deactivate it, since the calories never arrive. Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it's going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn't come, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings. Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners also promote other health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, including Cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

- Divya