sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, sugar, impulse control

Artificial Sweeteners’ Effect on the Brain Reduces Impulse Control

A lot of people struggle to lose weight while dieting, and a new study may have determined why. The study was on artificial sweeteners and how they affect the brain, and the results were quite shocking.

There are countless diet soft drinks that are marketed to dieters specifically because of their low calorie count. Well, it turns out they’re actually contributing to people making unhealthy eating choices. A new study took three months to complete, and followed 14 healthy volunteers. Each of those volunteers drank between two and six cans of 33cl soft drinks every day. For the duration of the study, their favourite drinks were switched with those containing artificial sweeteners.

The assumption was that since the subjects were reducing their sugar intake, they would lose weight by the end of the Study. That proved to be incorrect. Not only was there very little weight lost by any of the subjects, some of them actually gained 

weight. And their brain scans showed something quite disturbing.

Changes in their brains’ prefrontal cortex showed a reduction in activity. This means that the subjects all suffered from a decrease in impulse control. This region is responsible for decision making, cognitive control, and food intake. After consuming artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, these people had a lowered ability to say “no”. This made it significantly harder to avoid foods they knew were bad for them.

This explains a great deal as to why so many dieters suffer from poor impulse control when it comes to avoiding foods that are high in calories and fat, like cake, ice cream, and cookies. The areas of the brain that reward pleasure are hyperstimulated, while those that actually allow people to control behaviours are impaired.

Learn more about this study via the full post on the drfionand.com site here.

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