Artificial sweeteners trick the brain: study

Artificial sweeteners trick the brain: study

Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine say that in nature the intensity of sweetness reflects the amount of energy present. But in modern-day life, the body’s metabolism is fooled when a beverage is either too sweet or not sweet enough for the amount of  it contains.

That means that a sweet-tasting, lower-calorie drink can trigger a greater metabolic response than a drink with higher calories, they said.

“A calorie is not a calorie,” explained senior author Dana Small, a professor of psychiatry.

“The assumption that more calories trigger greater metabolic and brain response is wrong. Calories are only half of the equation;  is the other half,” Small said in a university news release.

When a “mismatch” occurs, the brain’s reward circuits don’t register that calories have been consumed, the researchers said. Many processed foods have such mismatches, such as yogurt with low-calorie sweeteners.

“Our bodies evolved to efficiently use the energy sources available in nature,” Small said. “Our modern food environment is characterized by  our bodies have never seen before.”

Small and her colleagues said the study may help explain the link between some  and diabetes discovered in previous research. The topic remains controversial, however, and experts agree more research needs to be done.

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Source: Medical Xpress

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