No calories and sugar free, sweeteners are the healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, right? Well, it turns out that the dieters' sweet fix of choice could actually be making us gain weight rather than lose the pounds by giving up sugar.
Scientists at the University of Sydney have conducted a study which found that the more artificial sweeteners you consume, the more likely you are to overindulge in real sugar too.
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Artificial sweeteners in food and drinks may cause weight gain
Consuming fizzy drinks and foods containing artificial sweeteners including sucralose was found to have a direct result on appetite, resulting in an overall increase in calories consumed – not so diet friendly after all.
Lead researcher, associate professor Greg Neely from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science, said that fruit flies who were given a diet laced with artificial sweeteners over five days then consumed 30% more calories when they were then given naturally sweet food.
It may be better to consume full-calorie soft drinks than diet drinks
"Through systematic investigation of this effect, we found that inside the brain's reward centres, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content," the professor wrote in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism. "When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed."
So it appears that full-calorie can of fizzy drink may be a better choice to the diet version when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth.
Alternatively you could try a natural way to get your sugar fix with fruit, Greek yoghurt and coconut water, or low GI treats such as oatcakes with nut butter.