Aussie research finds artificial sweeteners may increase hunger

SYDNEY — Artificial sweeteners commonly used in diet soft drinks aren’t so sweet after all, new Australian research revealed on Wednesday.

The University of Sydney’s findings showed intake of the product actually increases hunger and consumption.

Using fruit flies as subjects, researchers gave the flies either low carbohydrate food or low carbohydrate food with the addition of the artificial sweetener sucralose.

“We found when animals were given low carb food that had the artificial sweetener, they ate much more,” lead researcher and associate professor Greg Neely told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The study was conducted by placing the fruit flies in what researchers called the “Cafe assay,” which is a small chamber with a tube at the top that is filled with liquid food.

“We then change the composition of the food, and look to see how much of the food is eaten which we can see because the level of the food goes down as it is eaten, like a thermometer,” Neely said.

Although artificial sweeteners have not been found to be particularly harmful, Neely explained there is a body of evidence to show that similar effects to the fruit flies are also observed in humans, which has created active debate in the scientific world.

“Basically in moderation, there seems to be no real health risk, so I am not afraid myself to consume artificial sweeteners from periodically,” Neely said.

“But from what I have seen in the literature as a whole, it seems that excess consumption of either sugar or artificial sweeteners is linked to negative health outcomes, whereas consumption of water seems to be pretty healthy.” Xinhua-northboundasia.com