Why Artificial Sweeteners May Make You Fat

Why Artificial Sweeteners May Make You Fat

With nearly 40% of the world’s population now classified as obese, and increasing evidence pointing to sugar as the culprit, people are turning to foods that contain low-calorie sweeteners to give them the sweet taste they enjoy, without the risk of gaining weight. However, new research from George Washington University in the US suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually increase a person’s risk of becoming obese.

The obesity epidemic is caused by an increase in fat and sugar in people’s diets. Fat accumulation in obesity increases the chances of getting type 2 diabetes, heart conditions and cancer. As such, new guidelines from Public Health England encourage the public to buy lower calorie and lower sugar products.

So changing our diet to include low-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose and aspartame, should be a good way to get all the sweet taste without any of the guilt. Instead, the new study suggests that eating these sweeteners could do the opposite and increase the chance of us accumulating fat in our bodies, in a “dose-dependent” fashion. In other words, the more artificial sweetener you consume, the more fat your body creates and stores.

What they do to your body

For many years, we have known that sweet substances (sugars or artificial sweeteners) bind to sensors in our mouth called “sweet-taste receptors”. These receptors send a message to our brain to tell us that we are eating something sweet.

In the last decade, these sensors have been found in other parts of our body, such as the bladder, the lungs and even in bones. This has raised questions about what effect sweeteners, and these sweet taste receptors, could be having inside our bodies.

The new research, results of which were presented at ENDO 2018, the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, looks at the effect that artificial sweeteners have on the cells that make up our fat stores. These cells have a glucose transporter (a protein that helps glucose get into a cell) called GLUT4 on their surface and, when we eat more sugar, the cells take up more glucose, accumulate more fat and become larger.

The researchers in this latest study found that the artificial sweetener, sucralose, commonly found in diet foods and drinks, increases GLUT4 in these cells and promotes the accumulation of fat. These changes are associated with an increased risk of becoming obese.


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


Indeed, the research studied a small number of obese people who consume artificial sweeteners and found that they had more of these fat cells and increased expression of genes associated with fat production.

No clear answer yet

When consumed in low quantities, artificial sweeteners have been shown to aid weight loss, improve metabolic conditions and even protect against injury during infection. However, this new study suggests that, rather than keeping us healthy, artificial sweeteners, especially when consumed in larger doses, could be contributing to the obesity epidemic.

The ConversationGiven the limited number of studies on the subject – and that few studies compare low-calorie sweeteners with sugar – we do not yet have clear answers. However, with a supply of new, natural sweeteners on the market, such as stevia and monk fruit, we have plenty of them to choose from. These are based on fruit extracts and are aimed at providing a more natural approach to improving the tastiness of food and drink compared with their artificial counterparts. However, it’s too early to say whether these natural products are a safer option than artificial sweeteners or whether they, too, have the potential to increase the risk of obesity.

About The Author

Havovi Chichger, Senior Lecturer, Anglia Ruskin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=Artificial Sweeteners;maxresults=3}

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

The Day Of Reckoning Has Come For The GOP
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The Republican party is no longer a pro-America political party. It is an illegitimate pseudo-political party full of radicals and reactionaries whose stated goal is to disrupt, destabilize, and…
Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…