If you think artificial sweeteners is your recourse to having sweets guilt-free, take a step back and read this. Artificial sweeteners that are mostly used over sugar to beat calories can stimulate appetite and make you eat more and can even mess with your taste buds.
The study published in the journal, 'Cell Metabolism,' shed light on the effects of artificial sweeteners on the brain in regulating appetite and in altering taste perceptions.
Researchers from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have found a new system in the brain that can sense the sweetness and energy content of the food reported ANI.
"After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more," said lead researcher and Associate Professor Greg Neely from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science.
"Through systematic investigation of this effect, we found that inside the brain's reward centres, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content. When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed," added Associate Professor Neely.
In the study, fruit flies that were exposed to a diet laced with artificial sweetener for prolonged periods (more than five days) were found to consume 30 per cent more calories when they were then given naturally sweetened food.
"When we investigated why animals were eating more even though they had enough calories, we found that chronic consumption of this artificial sweetener actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar, and this then increases the animal's overall motivation to eat more food," said Associate Professor Neely.
The researchers also found artificial sweeteners promoted hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality -- behaviours consistent with a mild starvation or fasting state -- with similar effects on sleep also previously reported in human studies.