Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Dangers of Sugar Substitutes

Rats fed a diet of sugar substitutes gained more weight than rats that ate food sweetened with sugar according to a new study. This might explain why people who drink a lot of diet soda have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic problems.

Perdue University fed sugar-filled and sugar-free yogurt to groups of rats and found that rats that ate artificially sweetened meals were still hungry afterward and continued to eat more food than did rats whose food was naturally sweetened.

It appears that artificial sweeteners confuse the body which associates sweet tastes with calories. When you eat sweet foods without the calories, you continue to feel hungry.

The rats who ate sugar substitutes didn't have the metabolic increase that typically follows a meal, so they burned fewer calories. The combination of a larger appetite with a slower metabolism results if severe weight gain.