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Why You Need to Ditch Artificial Sweeteners Right This Second

For real this time.


By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Fitness Magazine

Artificial sweeteners like Splenda, aspartame, and Sweet'N Low have been on nearly every health experts no-no list for a few years now. But despite the stream of negative press surrounding them, most women trying to lose weight see them as a necessary evil, allowing us to have our cake and eat it too. (Even if said cake has a strange metallic aftertaste and weird texture.) But now a new study turns that idea on its head because, well, the stuff is probably making you gain.

Wait, what? How could something that has literally zero calories be adding inches to our waistlines? Sucralose, the artificial sweetener in Splenda, tricks our bodies into thinking they're starving, according to research published in Cell Metabolism. In the study animals were fed either a sugar-sweetened treat or one made from Splenda, and then allowed to eat as much of their regular chow as they liked. Within three days, the Splenda group was consuming 30 percent more calories per day—far more than the Splenda was "saving" in calories. (See: 10 Types of Sweeteners That Are Sneaking Their Way Into Your Diet.)

It all has to do with how our brains perceive sweet things, said Gregory Neely, a functional geneticist at the University of Sydney in Australia and one of the study's senior authors. The brain pathways affected by artificial sweeteners are also those that make food taste better when you're starving, so it could be why eating them can make us even hungrier.

Clearly this research adds to the body of existing research on the problems with artificial sweeteners, but of course, remember this was only performed on animals. More studies need to be done on actual human beings before we can draw any real conclusions.

In the meantime, though, this might be a good time to finally kick that Diet Coke habit. Here's six more things you might learn if you do.
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