In an effort to live a healthy lifestyle and cut sugar from your diet, you may reach for a sugar substitute. Sugar substitutes are any sweeteners that are used to enhance the flavor of food in place of table sugar. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic, although they may be made from naturally occurring substances. These sweeteners offer the benefit of sweetening your food without adding excess calories or contributing to tooth decay. However, artificial sweeteners may not be without their problems. The following are seven negative effects that artificial sweeteners may have on your body.
8. Increased Belly Fat
Artificial sweeteners are often used to sweeten items such as processed baked goods, sodas, and canned foods. They are appealing because they add a sweet flavor without adding extra calories. You might expect that consuming fewer calories would lead to weight loss and decreased belly fat. However, recent studies have shown just the opposite effect. A study reported in Endocrine Society suggests that instead of decreasing fat, low-calorie sweeteners actually contributed to weight gain in obese individuals. This may be due to interference with the body’s normal metabolism.
7. Altered Brain Function
Artificial sweeteners may also have a negative effect on your brain, memory, and understanding. A study published in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology found that artificial sweeteners decreased neuron function in the hippocampus of rat brains. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory as well as emotional responses. In humans, damage to the hippocampus is associated with memory loss, depression, and even seizures. A moment of sweetness on the tongue provided by artificial sweeteners may not be worth the risk to memory and mental health.