12 August, 2017
But when a beverage is either too sweet or not sweet enough for the number of calories it contains, the body's normal metabolic response is disrupted.
According to Tam Fry, at the National Obesity Forum, this study might be sufficient to convince people that artificial sweeteners, whether present in drinks or in food, can have a negative effect on the human body. This can cause slowing down of metabolism where there is a mismatch of sweetness and calories.
The response explains the association between artificial sweeteners and diabetes discovered in earlier studies.
The sweet taste of the sweeteners can fool the metabolism of the body and believes that we are consuming more calories. Many processed foods have such mismatches, such as yogurt with low-calorie sweeteners.
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. The assumption that more calories trigger greater metabolic and brain response is wrong. "Calories are only half of the equation; sweet taste perception is the other half", Small said in a university news release. When sweetness and calories are matched, the calories are properly metabolized, and this is registered by brain reward circuits. "Either may affect metabolic health".
British experts, who are more skeptical about the findings, are of the opinion that those who are concerned about taking diet drinks should stick to drinking water.
"Our modern food environment is characterised by energy sources our bodies have never seen before". "Flavor, on the other hand, which occurs when taste and smell are integrated, is unique to particular energy sources (in nature), with preferences learned".
But Professor Tom Sanders, of King's College London, said: "Saying a calorie is not a calorie is gobbledegook".