Millions of people rely on artificial sweeteners for cutting back on their sugar intake and maintaining their weight.
Read More: What Are The Ways to Eat Less Sugar
But a new study has found that eating artificial sweeteners can actually boost your appetite, leading to an increased caloric intake of up to 30 per cent.
The Australian study published in the journal Cell Metabolism suggests artificial sweeteners create a false state of starvation state in the brain, causing some organisms — such as flies and rats, which were observed in two separate studies — to eat more food as a result.
“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 lead researcher Associate Professor Greg Neely.
Sugar substitutes, despite having less calories than sugar, can wreak havoc on your body and metabolism. A previous study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Public Health also linked artificially sweetened “diet” drinks to weight gain, despite the fact that those choosing the sugar-free drinks thought that they were making a healthy choice.
Instead of reaching for a pack of Splenda, health experts recommend using natural sugars — fruit juices, maple syrup and honey — to add sweetness.