Diet drinks, food trigger weight gain, diabetes

Dhaka,  Fri,  18 August 2017
Published : 12 Aug 2017, 19:16:35
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Diet drinks, food trigger weight gain, diabetes

Diet drinks or foods may actually promote weight gain and trigger diabetes because the brain misreads the number of calories present and reduces metabolism, a new study suggests, according to a global media report.

Researchers at Yale University in the US discovered that the body stops burning energy from food if there is a ‘mismatch’ between food sweetness and calories.

In nature, sweetness signals energy and the greater the sweetness the more calories are available, so the brain has evolved to expect the two to come together. When they do not, the brain can become confused, thinking there are fewer calories to burn.

The scientists say it could help explain previous studies that have suggested that artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar levels and possibly trigger diabetes.

For the new study, scientists scanned the brains of 15 people when they were drinking diet drinks, and compared them to regular beverages. They also monitored how much energy was burned by the body.  

They found when there was a ‘mismatch’ between sweetness and calories - as is often the case with diet drinks or foods because they are not as sugary - the calories fail to trigger the body’s metabolism. Reward circuits in the brain also did not register that calories had been consumed, which could lead to eating more.

Commenting on the paper, Dominic Dwyer, Professor of Psychology at Cardiff University, said: “What the paper does imply, correctly in my view, is that mismatches between calories and sweetness interfere with metabolism of calories in a way that could have negative impact on weight gain, diabetes, heart disease etc. but that determining the link between the unprocessed calories and metabolic health needs future work.

However other British experts were more skeptical about the findings and warned people to stick to drinking water if they were concerned about artificially sweetened drinks.

 
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