Artificial sweeteners are widely promoted as safe, zero-calorie alternatives to sugar, ideal for those trying to lose weight. But a new study is indicating artificial sweeteners may increase appetite and food cravings, particularly in females and the obese.
“There is controversy surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners because a lot of people are using them for weight loss,” says corresponding author on the new study, Kathleen Page. “While some studies suggest they may be helpful, others show they may be contributing to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Our study looked at different population groups to tease out some of the reasons behind those conflicting results.”
Page hypothesizes the discordancy in the science is somewhat due to the fact that many studies investigating the effects of artificial sweeteners on metabolic activity or the brain are conducted in mostly male subjects, often with normal weight. This new research set out to investigate the influence of artificial sweeteners on these processes across a broad cohort of men and women.