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Originally published August 25 2008

Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Regular consumption of artificial, low-calorie sweeteners may actually cause people to gain more weight than similar consumption of sugar, according to a study conducted by researchers from Purdue University and published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

Researchers supplemented the diet of rats either with the artificial sweetener saccharin or with sugar, and found that the rats in the saccharin group actually gained more weight than the rats in the sugar group. This seemed to occur because the saccharin-consuming rats came to associate a sweet taste with the absence of calories, and began to overeat as a consequence.

"There's something about diet foods that changes your metabolic limit, your brain chemistry," said Dr. Marie Savard, medical contributor for ABC News.

A recent human study conducted on more than 18,000 people found that consuming one or more diet soft drinks per day increases the risk of gaining weight.

"If you're just taking it once in a while, fine. No big deal," Savard said. "If you're consuming one or more drinks a day, you should rethink what you're doing. You might be negating the whole reason in the first place."

Surveys suggest that 59 percent people in the United States regularly consume diet soft drinks. But according to Savard, it is not just soda that might place people at risk of unhealthy weight gain.

"The truth is, we're putting artificial sweetener in so many different things: in water, in yogurt," Savard said. "We have to rethink what this artificial stuff does to us."

Savard noted that the very people who are most likely to consume artificially sweetened products are often those already at risk of excessive weight gain.

"The truth is, if you're consuming a drink or more a day, you know it," she said. "You know that you're taking it, and you really have to think about eliminating it. You're probably the very person who needs to change those health behaviors to prevent ... diabetes, heart disease and stroke."

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