For as long as we can remember, we’ve somehow known that artificial sweeteners are bad for our health. Many of us tend to shy away from artificial sweeteners… except for maybe in diet sodas. But how bad could artificial sweeteners really be for us? After all, there aren’t any calories in them, whereas natural sugars do have calories, so artificial sweeteners at least have one good point, right?
Here’s a bit of a reality check for you: artificial sweeteners really mess with your brain–and not in a good way. We gathered up some research to show you exactly how your brain acts when it comes face to face with an artificial sweetener.
We’re sorry in advance for ruining your love for–or adding to your hatred of–artificial sweeteners, but it’s for the best.
This is your brain on artificial sweetener
It makes your brain imbalancedA recent study found that artificial sweeteners confuse your brain by recognizing sweetness while being unable to process any corresponding calories. This, in turn, triggers a cognitive imbalance where your brain expects a certain amount of calories, but is left wondering where they are. Thinkstock
You'll crave more caloriesYep, you guessed it. When your brain's left confused, it starts craving more calories to fix the imbalance. So in the end, you'll end up eating more because you'll crave more. One study even connects artificial sweeteners with food addiction--so beware. Thinkstock
You'll want more sugarAccording to a study published in the journal of Physiology & Behaviour, those who drank diet soda (pop with artificial sweetener) had less activity in certain parts of the brain. This means that artificial sweetener eaters taste sweetness but are less satisfied than those who have caloric sweeteners.Thinkstock
It interferes with your mobility controlIf that wasn't enough to scare you away from artificial sweeteners, this study will probably give you that final push. Apparently, the ability to move can be restricted by these sweeteners. And while you certainly won't be paralyzed, you may be left feeling a little more sluggish and tired as a result.Thinkstock
It can even affect your moodAnother not-so-nice fact about artificial sweeteners? Believe it or not, they can make you feel bad mentally. Artificial sweeteners have even been connected to kick-starting depression for people who have an existing mood disorder. Yeah, we like being happy too much to give it up for a sugar-substitute.Thinkstock