Current study: Sweetener does not satisfy the desire for sugar
For many people, sweeteners are a "healthier alternative" to sugar. However, studies indicate that the artificial substances can even cause serious illnesses. In addition, sweeteners can not satisfy the desire for sugar, as Swiss researchers have now found out.
Artificial sweeteners are often criticized
Most people are aware that high sugar consumption leads to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or tooth decay. Many therefore use artificial sweeteners as a supposed "healthier alternative". But these substances are increasingly being targeted by nutrition experts and doctors. Research has shown that sweeteners are harmful to health. Among other things, they can promote the risk of diabetes, as Israeli researchers have found. Accordingly, people who like to sweeten with artificial substances apparently increase their risk of glucose intolerance, a pre-form of diabetes. Now Swiss scientists are reporting another disadvantage of sweeteners: they do not quench their sugar appetite - at least not in mice.
Glucose satisfies cravings for sugary foods
Every man knows about food cravings. If our brain asks for sugary food, then only glucose (dextrose) helps. However, sweeteners cannot satisfy this desire, as researchers at the University of Lausanne have found. According to a statement from the university, the team led by Gwenaël Labouèbe has identified a network of nerve cells in the brain of mice that affect eating behavior. Accordingly, the drop in blood sugar levels stimulates certain nerve cells, which in turn trigger a certain pattern of behavior - the urge for sugary foods.
Fructose doesn't help either
“When a lack of glucose activates these neurons, they interact with the brain's reward system,” said Labouèbe. This increases the motivation of animals to look for and eat sugar. In the journal Nature Neuroscience, the research team reports that glucose suppresses the activity of these neurons, but fructose or sweetener do not. Therefore, the urge for sugar in foods with sweeteners remains unchecked. According to study director Bernard Thorens from the University of Lausanne, the results made it clear how complex the mechanisms in the brain are that control the consumption of sugary foods. "In particular, they emphasize the fact that sweeteners and fructose, which are used extensively in food, do not slow the craving for sugar." According to Thorens, this fits in with the finding that the introduction of sweetened or fructose-sweetened foods has not alleviated the overweight problem in the industrialized world.
Body reacts differently to different types of sugar
In a previous study, US researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) had found that fruit sugar in humans does not satisfy appetite as much as glucose. The scientists published their results in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS). According to this study participants who ate a drink sweetened with fructose reacted more strongly to food pictures than subjects who received a drink containing glucose. The Swiss study now adds a little more knowledge about how differently the body deals with different types of sugar. (ad)