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Study Reports Body Does Not Get Tricked by Fake Sugar

Update Date: Sep 23, 2013 02:00 PM EDT
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In current day society, people who are looking to cut down on their calorie intake use artificial sweeteners quite frequently. Even though these sweeteners help food and beverage products end up being categorized under the low-calorie section, a new study is reporting that these sweeteners might lead to more calorie consumption. According to this new study, artificial sweeteners do not trick the brain into thinking the body has consumed enough food, which can lead to higher calorie options later on during the day.

In this study, the researchers looked at the physiological brain signal that is responsible for choosing between sugars and sweeteners. This particular signal is in charge of dopamine levels, which is responsible for reward signaling. The team used mouse models to observe how the physiological brain signal responded to sugar and artificial sweeteners. By measuring the mice's chemical brain response for reward, they discovered that the brain does not register the sugar-to-energy pathway that leads to high reward when it came to eating artificial sweeteners. The mice were then more likely to eat sugar in the future.

"The consumption of high-calorie beverages is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity, even after the introduction of artificial sweeteners to the market. We believe that the discovery is important because it shows how physiological states may impact on our choices between sugars and sweeteners," the lead investigator of the study, professor Ivan de Araujo said according to Medical Xpress. de Araujo is from the Yale University School of Medicine. "Specifically it implies that human frequently ingesting low-calorie sweet products in a state of hunger or exhaustion may be more likely to 'relapse' and choose high calorie alternatives in the future."

The study was published in the Journal of Physiology.

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