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Low calorie sweeteners have long been controversial for those trying to eat healthy and lose weight, as studies, similar to eggs or coffee, have shown conflicting results. However, recent research published in Cell Metabolism offers solid evidence that they are not sabotaging your health or weight loss plan yourself.
While no one complains about a deliciously sweet diet soda from time to time, some previous studies have found that the low-calorie sweeteners in foods and beverages affect your metabolism, affect your brain's response to sugar, and can promote diabetes and obesity. Others have suggested that they do not affect metabolism and are a good alternative to high-calorie sugar.
The new study by Yale University researchers found that drinks containing sucralose (a common low-calorie sweetener found in drinks and protein bars) only negatively affected the body's sugar metabolism and brain responses to sugar when taken with Carbohydrates were consumed.
The participants had "seven low-calorie drinks, each containing two packs of Splenda, over two weeks," said lead author Dana Small, professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Research Center for Modern Nutrition and Physiology, in a press release.
Earlier theory said that when the body consumed sweet foods and drinks without calories, "decoupled" it by tasting something sweet with the intake of calories, decreased the body's response to sugar intake and possibly increased weight.
But when people drank a drink with a low-calorie sweetener and didn't accompany it with carbohydrates, there were no negative changes in the way the body responds to sugar.
"The bottom line," Small said, "is that individuals can safely drink diet soda, at least in small amounts, but they shouldn't add french fries."
So the next time you sit at the drive-through window of your favorite burger chain, order the diet soda confidently – just skip the fries and decide on a salad roll.