Just about everybody loves sweets, but when they contain artificial sweeteners, they may risk our overall well-being. Over time, scientists have connected synthetic sweeteners with health risks such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems, metabolic disorder and hemorrhagic stroke among others. Now, a new risk adds to the list as researchers have uncovered a correlation between artificial sweeteners and belly fat.
Experts from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio set out to study that belly fat, medically known as visceral fat is one of the worst types of fat and is also connected with soda consumption, which in turn contains a lot of synthetic sweeteners. Belly fat is related to increased risk of cancer, diabetes, coronary illness and metabolic disorder, to name just a few.
The study incorporated 750 Mexican-Americans and European-Americans over 65 year old who were monitored for more than 10 years. They were required to answers surveys related to their activity routines, diets, and different ways of life. Their body weight, height and waist measure were taken at various intervals during the study.
Taking smoking, age, and exercise level into account, the scientists established that members who drank at least one diet soda every day saw their waist circumference grow throughout the years as compared to those who did not consume the beverage at all. This prompted them to research more how and why artificial sweeteners prompt belly fat.
One of the theories is that sweeteners cause bacteria to move in the gut. Gut microorganisms have been demonstrated to impact how we process and separate nourishment, and changing their ordinary proportion would definitely influence the risk of a person to become obese or overweight.
Study author, Sharon Fowler explained:
“The gut microbiome is like our personal inner rain forest. If our intestines are like an ecosystem, then highly acidic drinks like sodas day after day, may be comparable to acid rain. To borrow from Austin Powers, it’s not a consequence-free environment.”
Furthermore since hyper-sweetened beverages can make the body to respond in an unexpected way, we have sweet receptors on our tongues as well as our guts and pancreas. Fowler further noted that if the receptors are getting hyper-enacted, they may be setting off the production of insulin when the body doesn’t really require it. This, over the long run, could prompt insulin resistance.
Marion Nestle, the author of Food Politics who thinks the issue might be psychological also mentioned:
“Belly fat is about genetics plus calorie balance. That’s the easiest explanation. There’s not much evidence that diet sodas help people lose weight (except in clinical trials) so it’s not hard to guess that people compensate for them by eating more”.
The nutrition expert prompted individuals to avoid chemical sweeteners and opt for unsweetened or natural beverages.
Image Source: The Telegraph