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New Study Reveals That This Artificial Sweetener Can Increase Appetite

Tim Boyer's picture
Artificial sweetener increases appetite

Do you regularly use artificial sweeteners to help with your dieting? A new study reveals that one artificial sweetener may actually be causing an increase in your appetite.


According to a news release from the University of Sydney, the evidence is growing that artificial sweeteners may actually be a contributing cause of obesity. This news is in light of a new study that shows in both fruit flies and mice, that feeding them the artificial sweetener sucralose―even for just a few days―resulted in significant overeating when given naturally sweetened food afterwards.

Here is one revelation about what’s not so sweet about artificial sweeteners.

"After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more," said lead researcher Associate Professor Greg Neely from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science.

Although previous studies have shown a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity, this study is the first to identify how artificial sweeteners can actually stimulate appetite. This stimulation to eat more takes place within a newly discovered complex neuronal network that responds to artificially sweetened food. This stimulation is described as a Sweet/Energy imbalance that activates a conserved neuronal starvation response. The response, in turn, tells the brain that the organism has not eaten enough and requires more food for energy.

"Through systematic investigation of this effect, we found that inside the brain's reward centers, 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," said Associate Professor Neely, who added that chronic consumption of an artificial sweetener, “…actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar, and this then increases the animal’s overall motivation to eat more food."

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So what does this means for humans? A thought-provoking look at the foods we eat due to the fact that thousands of food items we buy off the shelf are artificially sweetened.

"These findings further reinforce the idea that 'sugar-free' varieties of processed food and drink may not be as inert as we anticipated. Artificial sweeteners can actually change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food, with a discrepancy between sweetness and energy levels prompting an increase in caloric consumption," states study co-author Professor Herbert Herzog who found that mice shared the same neuronal pathway as the fruit flies when on a sucralose-sweetened diet for only seven days.

See Dr. Oz’s “Fake Sugars that Kill” warning that reveals why consumers have a hard time discerning whether or not a food product is artificially sweetened.

For an alternative to using a potentially harmful artificial sweetener, here is an informative article on a New Natural Sweetener Recommended by Dr. Oz that he says won’t make you fat.


University of Sydney “Why artificial sweeteners can increase appetite

Sucralose Promotes Food Intake through NPY and a Neuronal Fasting Response” Cell Metabolism, Volume 24, Issue 1, 75 – 90; Wang, Qiao-Ping et al.



The substantial body of research, including human clinical trials, supports that beverages that contain low- and no-calorie sweeteners are an effective tool as part of an overall weight loss or weight management plan. In fact, the CHOICE study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January of 2013 confirms that these beverages can be an important tool in helping reduce calories and directly counters the assertions made in this latest study.