Monday, September 8, 2014

Put Down That Artificially Sweetened Soda, It's Making You Fat

New psychological research provides clues as to why consuming such drinks can actually lead to weight gain. 

In recent decades, artificially sweetened beverages have become an increasingly popular alternative to sugary sodas. At the same time, America’s obesity rate has risen to epidemic levels.

Odd coincidence?  Perhaps not: Considerable research has found consuming these “diet” drinks results in weight gain over the long run. At first glance, this seems preposterous, since you’re substituting a high-calorie product with a no-calorie one.

But in a newly published paper, a research team led by Texas Christian University psychologist Sarah Hill finds drinking these non-sugar beverages can “influence psychological processes in ways that—over time—may increase calorie intake.”

In a series of experiments, Hill and her colleagues discovered artificially sweetened beverages impacts our subsequent reactions to sweet food in ways that are distinctly different from either sugar-sweetened or non-sweetened drinks. Their research, published in the journal Appetite, suggests these products may activate a craving without satisfying it, thus increasing our vulnerability to the next high-calorie treat that crosses our path.

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