February 10, 2008
Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?

Its not nice to fool mother nature.

WASHINGTON — Want to lose weight" It might help to pour that diet soda down the drain. Researchers have laboratory evidence that the widespread use of no-calorie sweeteners may actually make it harder for people to control their intake and body weight. The findings appear in the February issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Psychologists at Purdue University’s Ingestive Behavior Research Center reported that relative to rats that ate yogurt sweetened with glucose (a simple sugar with 15 calories/teaspoon, the same as table sugar), rats given yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin later consumed more calories, gained more weight, put on more body fat, and didn’t make up for it by cutting back later, all at levels of statistical significance.

Appetite regulatory mechanisms in the body might get confused by the taste of sweetness followed by a lack of blood sugar rise and perhaps the mechanisms respond by upping appetite?

Artificial sweeteners in diet soda might be behind the results from a recent paper in Circulation which found diet soda as amount the dietary factors associated with a higher incidence metabolic syndrome (which includes higher weight, higher blood pressure, and higher blood sugar).

  • When further adjustment was made for intake of meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, refined grains, and whole grains, analysis of individual food groups revealed that foods adversely associated with incident metabolic syndrome were meat (P for trend < .001), fried foods (P for trend = .02), and diet soda (P for trend < .001).
  • Compared with individuals in the lowest quintile of meat consumption, those in the highest quintile of meat consumption were at 26% greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.
  • Intake of hamburger, hot dogs, and processed meat seemed to promote the adverse association between meat and incident metabolic syndrome.
  • Compared with individuals in the lowest tertile of fried food intake, those in the highest tertile of intake were at 25% greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.
  • Compared with individuals in the lowest tertile of diet soda intake, those in the highest tertile of intake were at 34% greater risk for the metabolic syndrome.

But a causal link between diet soda consumption and obesity is not proven.

“This is interesting,” said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the paper, which was posted online in the journal Circulation on Jan. 22. “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?”

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 February 10 10:31 PM  Brain Appetite

Bill said at February 11, 2008 6:50 AM:

Perhaps people who drink diet soda do so because they're already fat and trying to control it.

Perry E. Metzger said at February 11, 2008 8:51 AM:

"Bill" seems to miss that this was a report of a controlled study in lab animals. Unless the lab animals had volunteered for the zero calorie sweetener group because of their body image issues, his explanation doesn't work well. (Yes, the epidemiological studies in humans could be explained that way, but not the studies in rats.)

Mrs. C. said at February 11, 2008 4:26 PM:

Earlier studies have shown it is the brain that reacts to the artificial sweetener, and signals the body systems that they are receiving something sweet. That is why some people drinking or eating artificial sweeteners are satisfied that they are having a "sugary" treat.

If the brain is signalling the body that it is receiving "sugar" when artificial sweeteners are imbibed, why are scientists surprised that the systems in the body react in the same way they would if the body were having equal doses of pure sugar? When you are drinking Splenda or Aspartame, your body is receiving signals from the brain that you are drinking Kool-Aid.

It seems only natural that this would be the consequence of using artificial sweeteners.

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