What Do Artificial Sweeteners Actually Do to Your Body?


Apparently, no calories does NOT equal no
consequences, and artificial sweeteners, like the kind you may find in diet drinks, may
be just as bad for you as sugar, with your brain and your gut responding in surprising
ways to that delicious, synthetic sweetness. The FDA has approved six artificial sweeteners
as a low-calorie or no-calorie options to help us curb things like obesity. So, they’re not sugar but studies have shown
that your body may still be reacting to them negatively. How is it processing these seemingly magical
compounds? The main theories come down to your brain
and your gut. Multiple studies have shown that sustained
artificial sweetener use can induce insulin resistance, and this probably involves your
brain. It could be when your tongue tastes something
sweet, your brain is expecting the physical presence of sugar, and tells your pancreas
to start producing insulin, which lets your body absorb the sugar. Only when there’s no sugar to absorb, you
still have the insulin in your body. Repeating this process every time you drink
a diet soda leads to insulin build-up with no place for it to go, and then, systemic
insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes. Turns out, we can’t turn our brains off. It’s just trying to do its job, guys. Artificial sweeteners are anywhere between
200 to 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar, and aside from the insulin issue, we’re
still unsure how our taste receptors process these substitutes. Science does suggest, however, that your brain
can distinguish between the two. It knows when you’re eating real sugar,
and even though it still releases insulin in response to artificial sweeteners, they
light up a different neural reward pathway than real sugar. So at the same time that we’re exposing
our taste receptors to extremely, intensely sweet-tasting foods, These factors lead some
experts to say that we’re training our palate to crave sweeter and sweeter things while
our brain still isn’t receiving ‘true’ sugar satisfaction, so we’re just exacerbating
a sugar craving, not treating it. But it’s not just our brains, it could be
our guts too. Because, microbes!! Or at least a little bit. These faux sugars aren’t digestible, hence…no
calories. You literally just poop them out. But that means that those molecules just hang
out in your intestines, with certain microbes that can digest them. Those microbes can then trigger a ‘glucose
response’ leading to, you guessed it, insulin resistance. A changed gut microbiome in response to artificial
sweetener use could also produce hormonal changes in your body, quite possibly a hormone
that influences your appetite…and not in a good way. The researchers are careful to say, though,
that everyone’s microbiome is different, so the severity of these effects definitely
vary from person to person, and experts advocate a personalized approach to nutritional and
medicinal recommendations in this st area. And on top of all this, those who regularly
use artificial sweeteners may start to find healthy foods, even naturally sweet ones like
fruit, unpalatable because they’re so used to a more intense taste. Faux-sugar may help some diet-cola lovers
justify consuming extra calories that they wouldn’t otherwise, because they just drank
something with zero calories. And artificial sweeteners may prevent us from
associating a sweet taste with weight gain, training our brain to think we can eat whatever
we want with no repercussions. This is only the beginning of the ways that
artificial sweeteners may actually be contributing to the very epidemic they were supposed to
help fight: obesity, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases. So, that’s kinda nuts. We’re trying to bypass our body’s natural
mechanisms so we can eat super sweet stuff with nothing bad happening but it looks like
nature is not letting us get away with that. That information is a little tough to swallow,
but rest assured that we here at Seeker will always keep your science craving satisfied,
so subscribe so you can always decide what not to drink, and check out my other video
on how your gut controls you brain. Fun Fact: The first artificial sweetener was
discovered in a lab accident. The scientist spilled a food preservative
on his hand and forgot to wash his hands before lunch. Spoiler: it was sweet I’m Maren. Thanks for watching!