Your artificial sweetener may actually make you hungrier

October 6, 2021 – If you’ve switched from sugar to an artificial sweetener made with sucralose as part of a weight loss strategy, a new study has disturbing news: the artificial sweetener may actually increase appetite in people. women and obese people.

Sucralose products come in many forms, including the powder that many people use instead of sugar in coffee and other drinks. Common brands include Splenda, Zerocal, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella. But sucralose is also found in other products, including diet sodas and sugar-free versions of products like maple syrup, salad dressings and other sauces.

The study found that after consuming a drink sweetened with sucralose versus sugar, women and obese people had increased activity in the brain’s reward center, and women ate more food during a buffet after fasting.

“We were able to show that women and obese people can be more sensitive to artificial sweeteners,” senior author Kathleen Page, MD, associate professor of medicine at the university’s Keck School of Medicine, said in a statement. Press.

“For these groups, drinking artificially sweetened drinks can make the brain feel hungry, which in turn can lead to more calories being consumed,” she said.

Although many people use artificial sweeteners to try to lose weight, Page noted that their place in healthy eating is controversial. Some studies suggest they may be helpful, while others show that they may contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.

The new findings may partly explain these previous differences, she said.

The results also highlight the need to consider gender and body mass index in future research on these types of sweeteners. The study was published online September 28 in JAMA Open.

New discoveries, need for future research

The current study “is of great importance” because it shows the possible effects of sweeteners on the basis of obesity and gender, writes Stephanie Kullmann, PhD, in an accompanying commentary. Kullmann is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

This suggests “that adding non-nutritious sweeteners to our diet to increase sweetness could alter the brain’s responsiveness to food, with negative consequences on eating behavior and metabolism, especially in women.”

However, more research is needed before doctors and nutritionists tell people not to use these sweeteners.

This study “clearly emphasizes the importance of considering gender and [obesity] in future research for [be able to] give personalized dietary recommendations for body weight management. “

Several questions remain, says John L. Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto.

“Is it the sucralose in itself or the lack of calories that explains these results?” And the bigger question is whether these differences [obesity] and sex result in weight gain? “

Systematic reviews and meta-analyzes of available clinical trials of low-calorie and calorie-free sweeteners, including sucralose, show that they can lead to weight loss in overweight or obese men and women. he noted.

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