A cold can of something fizzy and, most importantly, diet, is often our go-to 4 p.m. treat. We never feel guilty because, you know, it only contains 1 calorie and no sugar. Similarly, we often like to add a touch of sweetener to our coffee, as it's not the real stuff. As a result, we could make our peace with the fact that we were guzzling a fizzy drink or having a sweet-tasting coffee as it contains sweetener, not sugar.
We hate to bring you this news, but it turns out artificial sweetener, often used in diet products, is making us more likely to pile on the pounds, even though we think we're being good by avoiding sugar. According to scientists at the University of Sydney who conducted a study on artificial sweeteners, the more you ingest the fake stuff, the more likely you are to overindulge in real sugar.
Keep scrolling to read the latest discovery on artificial sweeteners and how it could be making us gain weight.
Published yesterday in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, the study co-led by a team at the University of Sydney revealed the effects of artificial sweeteners on our appetite and how they can affect how many calories we consume.
Lead researcher, associate professor Greg Neely from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science, revealed that the study showed animals began eating a lot more calories "after chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose."
When testing on fruit flies, who were given a diet laced with artificial sweetener for over five days, they then consumed 30% more calories when they were then given naturally sweet food.
"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," he continued.
Basically, that diet beverage you thought was keeping you from mainlining that brownie is actually just increasing your need for a real sugar fix. And there's even more bad news—artificial sweeteners also encourage hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality. We might not feel quite so guilty about going for the full-calorie drink after all.
Want to read more about diets? Check out that time we tried the mono diet so you wouldn't have to.