A synthetic aftertaste might not be the only side effect of switching to diet soda, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Drinks that contain the artificial sweetener sucralose may increase food cravings and appetite in woman and people who are obese, according to a new study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Just published in JAMA Network Open, the study is one of the largest to-date to examine the effects of an artificial sweetener, also called a nonnutritive sweetener (NNS), on brain activity and appetite responses in different segments of the population.
Artificial sweeteners: A controversial topic
More than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. currently use NNSs as a calorie-free way to satisfy a sweet tooth, and, in some cases, accomplish weight loss goals. Despite their prevalence, the health consequences of artificial sweeteners are still highly debated, with no clear consensus on their effects on appetite, glucose metabolism, and body weight.
“There is controversy surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners because a lot of people are using them for weight loss,” said Kathleen Page, MD, the study’s corresponding author and an associate professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. “While some studies suggest they may be helpful, others show they may be contributing to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Our study looked at different population groups to tease out some of the reasons behind those conflicting results.”
To study the effects of NNSs, Page and her colleagues studied 74 participants who, during the course of three different visits, consumed 300 milliliters of a drink sweetened with sucrose (table sugar), a drink sweetened with the NNS sucralose or water as a control. In the two hours that followed, the …….