Those who are thinking that they are fooling their brain by taking artificial sweeteners as a substitute for sugar may not succeed in their intentions, a new study says.
According to the study, choosing diet drinks and artificial sweeteners as an alternative to high-calorie treats may actually increase your craving for sugar, hence increasing your sugar levels.
The scientists explain that we fail in fooling brain as our pleasure in consuming sweet solutions is driven to a great extent by the amount of energy it provides. Therefore, greater reward in the brain is attributed to sugars compared to artificial sweeteners.
Professor Ivan de Araujo, who led the study at Yale University School of Medicine US, said, “The consumption of high-calorie beverages is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity, even after the introduction of artificial sweeteners to the market.”
Expressing the need of the study, he said, “We believe that the discovery is important because it shows how physiological states may impact on our choices between sugars and sweeteners. Specifically, it implies that humans frequently ingesting low-calorie sweet products in a state of hunger or exhaustion may be more likely to ‘relapse’ and choose high calorie alternatives in the future.”
According to the researchers, the results suggest that a ‘happy medium’ could be a solution i.e. combining sweeteners with minimal amounts of sugar so that energy metabolism doesn’t drop, while caloric intake is kept to a minimum.
The study identified a specific physiological brain signal that is critical for determining choice between sugars and sweeteners.