How Artificial Sweeteners Can Make You Fat

Diet soda might not be doing your diet any favours

PUBLISHED: |

BY ELIZABETH MILLARD



Your Artificial Sweetener Might Be Giving You A Gut
istock

Reaching for that packet of Splenda or cracking open a diet soda might not be the healthy fix that you may think, according to new research presented at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.
 

That’s because artificial sweeteners seem to mess with your body's metabolism, the study suggests. And in doing so, it may even promote the accumulation of fat, especially in people who are already obese.
 

The study used a few different strategies to reach that conclusion. In the first, researchers tested the artificial sweetener sucralose on stem cells taken from human fat tissue, using a concentration similar to that of the blood of someone drinking four cans of diet soda per day. They discovered an increased activation of genes associated with fat production and inflammation.
 

A second experiment involved abdominal fat samples from eight people who regularly consumed low-cal sweeteners. The researchers saw evidence of increased transport of glucose into cells - meaning accumulation of more sugar in the blood - and overexpression of fat-producing genes, compared to samples from subjects who didn’t use the sweeteners.
 

Part of the reason may be that low-calorie sweeteners appear to increase “sweet taste receptors” in abdominal fat, and that allows glucose to enter the cells more readily, the researchers believe.
 

Basically, these receptors are looking for a sweet fix, and low-cal sweeteners - which are often several-fold sweeter than sugar - satisfy that need. Researchers noted that those who regularly consume artificial sweeteners had 2.5-fold higher sweet taste receptor overexpression than those who don’t eat the stuff.
 

As more glucose enters the cells as a result of these receptors, the body absorbs it into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels in the body. This process often leads to abdominal fat storage, too. Over time, that can mess with your metabolism, leading to greater fat production.
 

Still, this study is just one of many on the topic of artificial sweeteners and weight gain - there is still controversy over the bottom line on whether artificial sweeteners are helpful or hurtful. 

LATEST Weight Loss STORIES


How This Man's Weight Loss Landed Him A Dream Job

BY PATRICK LOH

March 13, 2017

This is the story of a regular guy who shed 40kg and took back control of his life


Malaysian Guys And Their Amazing Weight-Loss Stories

BY PATRICK LOH

March 2, 2017

Recapping the newest members of our Belly-off Club, so that you too can be inspired to achieve bigger and better things


Arthritis Sufferer Aria Putera Kamal Lost 27KG

BY patrick loh

February 23, 2017

Aria Putera Kamalís doctor once told him to avoid all forms of physical exertion, but he decided to go with his gut Ė and ended up losing 27kg in one year



Things You Should Never Drink To Lose Weight

BY alison bonaguro for women's health

February 17, 2017

Itís time to reassess what goes in your cup


Why You Should Lift Heavy And Eat More To Lose Fat

BY tony gentilcore

February 6, 2017

An elite trainer explains what most guys get wrong about fat loss


6 Reasons Youíve Stopped Losing Weight

BY Alisa hrustic

February 2, 2017

Hereís what you can do to start frying fat again




How Much Weight To Lose For Heart Disease and Diabetes

BY christa sgobba

January 19, 2017

The number might not be as daunting as you think


A Torcherous Cardio Workout That Will Fry Fat

BY Alex Zakrzewski

January 19, 2017

Sizzle fat and rev your metabolism for hours after you leave the gym


IN THE MAGAZINE

Men's Health Malaysia

Men's Health on Instagram