Diet drinks may increase food cravings, a new study shows. It concludes that artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may not reduce a dieter’s calorie intake because they increase cravings.
The research specifically studied the artificial sweetener sucralose.
A 12-ounce (oz) can of the most popular cola drink in America contains 140 calories, while a 20-oz plastic bottle has 240 calories.
A new study led by researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles revealed that drinks containing low-calorie artificial sweeteners may trick the brain into feeling hungry.
The researchers concluded that people with obesity who drinks diet drink containing non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) sucralose are more likely to increase cravings compared to those who drink with sucrose, a natural sugar.
The study findings were published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Overall research found that NNS-sweetened drinks may actually increase food cravings. NNS-sweetened drinks consumption led to more activity in brain areas associated with cravings than drinking the sucrose-containing drink.
“Our study starts to provide context for the mixed results from previous studies when it comes to the neural and behavioral effects of artificial sweeteners. By studying different groups, we were able to show that females and people with obesity may be more sensitive to artificial sweeteners. For these groups, drinking artificially sweetened drinks may trick the brain into feeling hungry, which may, in turn, result in more calories being consumed,” Michelle Routhenstein, a cardiology dietitian and owner of Entirely Nourished, said.