Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Appetite
Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how artificial sweeteners affect human health. Much of the research done to date remains somewhat controversial. Two new studies—one involving fruit flies and the other mice—may provide information about the effect of artificial sweeteners on appetite and weight.
In both studies, animals that were fed a diet sweetened with sucralose ate significantly more food and calories than those fed a diet sweetened with sugar. Further research showed that sucralose activated a “fasting response” in the fruit flies’ brains—meaning that flies who were fed the artificial sweetener did not realize they were consuming enough food and so they ate more to compensate.
Another connection involved a certain neurotransmitter in the brain that is found in mice as well as humans. This neurotransmitter also seems to play a role in how artificial sweeteners affect appetite. More studies are needed to confirm these effects in humans.
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