Artificial sweeteners may just be as bad as sugar
Experts advised legislators to add tax on food with non-nutritive sweeteners as studies about its negative effect on health emerge.
In particular, seven U.S. municipalities have imposed a sugary-beverage tax to discourage consumption.
While the American Diabetes Association officially recommends diet soda as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, recent studies show that artificial sweeteners may just be as bad. An article published by The Washington Post mentioned some of it.
Theoretically, these sweeteners should be a better choice than sugar for diabetics since nonnutritive sweeteners are not exactly sugar.
However, there is growing evidence that these sweeteners can change healthy metabolic processes in other ways, specifically in the stomach. Long-term use has been associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Sweeteners such as saccharin have been shown to change the type and function of the gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms that live in the intestine. Aspartame decreases the activity of a gut enzyme that is normally protective against Type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, this response may be exacerbated by the mismatch between the body perceiving something as tasting sweet and the expected associated calories. The greater the discrepancy between the sweetness and actual caloric content, the greater the metabolic dysregulation.
Another study revealed that longer-term and higher diet soda consumption are linked to lower activity in the brain’s “caudate head,” a region that mediates the reward pathway and is necessary for generating a feeling of satisfaction.
Researchers have hypothesized that this decreased activity could lead diet soda drinkers to compensate for the lack of pleasure they now derive from the food by increasing their consumption of all foods, not just soda.