Several studies conducted on the effects of artificial sweeteners have concluded that they may not be good for our system.
While there are still some who say that sweeteners like sucralose and stevia are not harmful and are a good way to enjoy sweet food without adding calories, several other researchers are of the opinion that these artificial sweeteners play a role in obesity by confusing the brain.
Researchers say that artificial sweeteners can confuse the brain about the caloric value of sweet foods, and several of the customers who are trying to lose weight end up gaining more or loose nothing at all.
To settle the confusion, a neuroscientist at Yale University, Dana Small set on a study to understand artificial sweeteners and how they work on a person’s body. She also set to find the question whether the rewarding character of sweet foods was due to the calories such food contain.
Small created five beverages in order to test her hypothesis. All the drinks were sweetened with artificial sweetener and tasted almost similar to a drink containing around 75 calories of sugar. She varied the calories in the drinks by using a carbohydrate called maltodextrin.
Each of the beverages she produced had their own distinctive colour and flavour and were all equally sweet. The beverages were handed over to the participants. After they had consumed each drink at least six times over a period of weeks, the researchers used fMRI brain scanning to see how each drink affected brain reward circuits of the participants.
Small had predicted that the more calories there were in the drink, the greater the reward would be. However, the results were not what she had expected. It was concluded that the the metabolic response to the high-calorie drink was lower than it was for the medium-calorie drink.