Drinking diet drinks 'harms your brain function and increases risk of memory loss' | The Sun

WE all know we need to eat less sugar, and sweeteners offer a compelling alternative.

But more evidence is beginning to emerge that the substitute might actually be damaging your body in more ways than real sugar ever could.

A new study has found that consuming artificial sweeteners as a teenager can lead to serious long-term memory problems in later life.

Researchers from the US also found that the sweeteners slowed down the metabolism which could also lead to an increased risk of diabetes.

Sweeteners are also more likely to make the taste buds less sensitive to sugar.

This could lead to people consuming more sugary drinks and foods to experience the sweet flavour, the study published in JCI Insight concluded.

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Study co-author Professor Scott Kanoski of University of Southern California said: “While our findings do not necessarily indicate that someone should not consume low-calorie sweeteners in general, they do highlight that habitual low-calorie sweetener consumption during early life may have unintended, long-lasting impacts,”

As part of the study, the team had rats drink water sweetened with several different low-calorie sugar substitutes, including saccharin, ACE-K, and stevia. 

A separate group of rats drank plain water with their food.

After a month, the rats grew into adults and study authors assessed their memory using two different tests.

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The tests showed that rats drinking sweetened beverages while growing up had trouble passing the memory tests compared to to the rats that drank only plain water.

The rats were given levels of sweetener which fell within "acceptable daily intake levels" and were also given "only a single sweetener", researchers said.

This was so the trial was as realistic as possible and the results would reveal the negative impacts of consuming what is an acceptable amount of sweetener.

In a separate study, researchers found that artificial sweeteners may be making people fat.

The Canadian team looked at 37 studies involving more than 400,000 people over an average of ten years.

They found no consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss — with trials suggesting they may actually harm the metabolism.

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The UK Government publicly endorsed the use of non-sugar sweeteners as a safe alternative to reduce sugar in food and drink and help people manage their weight.

Here are some healthy sugar alternatives to satisfy a sweet tooth without the health risks.

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