This article was originally published on The Conversation. Artificial sweeteners are everywhere, but the jury is still out on whether these chemicals are harmless. Also called non-nutritive sweeteners, these can be synthetic — such as saccharin and aspartame — or naturally derived, such as steviol, which comes from the Stevia plant. To date, the U. Food and Drug Administration has approved six types of artificial and two types of natural non-nutritive sweeteners for use in food. That’s been great news for those working hard to curb their sugar consumption. Aspartame, for example, is found in more than 6, foods worldwide, and about 5,, tons are consumed every year in the United States alone. The American Diabetes Association — the most well-respected professional group focusing on diabetes — officially recommends diet soda as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. To date, seven U.
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Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes. But that’s the problem, according to researchers. Think of it like crying wolf. The fake sugar in diet sodas teases your body by pretending to give it real food. But when your body doesn’t get the things it expects to get, it becomes confused on how to respond. While the studies they reviewed only looked at diet soft drinks, the researchers suggest that this could apply to other products that contain artificial sweeteners as well. Video: Are diet sodas dangerous to your health? Melina Jampolis. The artificial sweeteners also dampen the “reward center” in your brain, which may lead you to indulge in more calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food, according to the report.