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Artificial Sweeteners and Your Brain

Posted on 09/25/2013

Aside from my personal dislike of artificial sweeteners, I now have more published research that confirms my belief that real sweet stuff is better than the fake, manmade kind.  The latest study is published in The Journal of Physiology.  

According to researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, our brains are wired to know that low-calorie and no-calorie artificial sweeteners aren’t really sugar and furthermore won’t be beneficial to our bodies in the way sugar is for energy. That may explain why those who consume this type of sweetener may end up craving, consuming and eating more calories as a result than those who choose to eat sugar instead.  Isn’t this the opposite of why most people consume artificial sweeteners?  

Researchers show that the pleasure we get (courtesy of dopamine) from eating sugar comes essentially from the perceived, anticipated energy we expect to gain from it. And, the amount sweeteners provide us just doesn’t match.  

Even when provided a choice of a sweeter option via artificial sweeteners, mice in the study opted for real sugar rather than the manmade kind.  Even the mice know better!  

I’ve known for years this stuff is not good. Neither is over consumption of sugar, it can be attributed to weight gain, obesity and tooth decay. However, if eaten in small amounts sugar doesn’t compare in dangerousness to artificial sweeteners.  

From day one (nearly 30 years ago), I knew I would never use artificial sweeteners in our meals we serve since they are always in study.  

My suggestion? Go for the real stuff, in moderation. New research is out all the time about how harmful artificial sweeteners are for your body. Why chance your health? Just use commonsense and moderation with the amount of sugar you ingest on a daily basis. Remember, a treat once in awhile is okay. Just don’t let it become a daily habit.


Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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