Why Fake Sweeteners Don’t Trick Your Brain

close up of  sugar cubes in a spoon on white background with clipping pathBy Emily Murray

When it comes to nutrition, it’s often hard to sort the fact from the fiction. You may have heard that artificial sweeteners can actually lead to an increased consumption of “real” sugars and according to a new study, we can lump this tidbit of info into the “fact” category.

Diet soda drinkers beware. When you consume these artificial sugars, you are probably thinking you are doing something good for your body but aside from all the artificial ingredients, there is something else that is bothersome. Your brain expects a certain benefit from the food that you consume. When something tastes sweet like sugar but doesn’t provide the body with that boost of energy, your brain actually begins to crave the real deal, realizing its been duped and this will send you on that kitchen quest for sugar, sugar and more sugar.

This new research was conducted at the Yale University School of Medicine and confirms previous similar findings.

The study was conducted on a group of mice and studied the responses of the animals brains when introduced to artificial sweeteners. The mice were given artificial sweeteners until they were satisfied. Once they were given an option of the artificial sugar versus the real thing, the mice abandoned the fake sugar completely. When their blood sugar levels dropped, they went straight for the real sugar since their brains realized their bodies would get that boost of needed energy.

The researchers have summed up their findings and how we can apply them in to the way in which we eat or consumer sugary drinks. It’s not best to stick with straight sugar, but perhaps a combination of the two (artificial and regular) can help balance out cravings while keeping health in mind.

Read more about this research here.