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 Guy Overcame Eating Disorders And Lost Weight

BY PATRICK LOH

August 16, 2017

Mithrun Swaminathan fought for respect and overcame anorexia and bulimia, when all people did was judge him


4 Simple Eating Habits To Prevent Weight Gain

BY CHRISTA SGOBBA

July 27, 2017

These research-backed strategies can keep your weight in check


This Man Tells You Why Being Obese Is A Catastrophe

BY PATRICK LOH

July 12, 2017

"There is no deadline in any weight loss journey"



"We Don't Cater For Obese People"

BY patrick loh

June 22, 2017

When he realised that his ideal wardrobe didnít come in his size, Siva Murugesan knew it was time to torch his extra bulk


7 Most Prevalent Malaysian Weight-Loss Myths Busted

BY denise lim

June 16, 2017

An expert reveals why you might be going about it in the wrong way




How This Average Joe Started A Fitness Community

BY denise lim

May 29, 2017

Gerald Chew transformed his body in 3.5 months after getting a rude wakeup call


The Key To Weight Loss Might Be Eating At Home Alone

BY ALANNA NU—EZ

May 3, 2017

Sounds like a lonely, if somewhat healthy, existence​


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


IN THE MAGAZINE

Men's Health Malaysia

Men's Health on Instagram