Experts warn that diet drinks might exacerbate food cravings and make weight loss more difficult.


DIET drinks might deliver when it comes to flavour and be lower in calories than their full fat counterparts but new research has shown that they can cause increased food cravings.

A new study published by JAMA Network Open has added to previous evidence that drinks which contain sucralose may stimulate the appetite in certain people. The new study has also given some further insight into why that is the case.

Katie Page, a doctor specialising in obesity at the University of Southern California explained that after consuming this form of artificial sweetener “we found that females and people with obesity had greater brain reward activity.”

The research also highlighted that both groups had a reduction in the effectiveness of the hormone that acts as a natural appetite suppressor. After consuming drinks that contained sucralose, compared with drinking drinks sweetened with sugar, they tended to eat a higher number of calories.

The study also found that people of a healthy weight and males did not show an increase in brain reward activity or hunger after consuming drinks containing sweeteners, which suggests that they are not affected in the same way.

Katie said: “I think what was most surprising was the impact of body weight and biological sex.

“They were very important factors in the way that the brain responded to the artificial sweetener.”

When researching the effects of diet drinks, Katie and her team measured the response in three ways.

They used functional MRI brain images of each of the study’s 74 participants to determine which parts of the brain linked to appetite and cravings were activated.

They also used samples of blood to determine blood sugar levels and metabolic hormones; two factors that can drive hunger.

The team also tracked the amount study participants ate at a buffet which was offered at the end of each study session.

The aim of the study was to determine whether diet drinks would help or hinder dieting efforts and make losing weight easier or more difficult. While some studies have shown certain benefits to diet drinks, longer term research has found a link between consumption of diet drinks and an increase in weight.

Behavioural scientist from Purdue University, Susan Swithers, was not involved in the study but has reviewed the findings and has explained that there are a number of complex ways artificial sweeteners. “Brinkwire Summary News”.


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