A new study claims that drinking diet sodas prevent people from losing weight.
Though millions of individuals are attracted to diet or low-calorie drinks to get rid of extra weight, a new research states that these drinks aren’t beneficial. Massachusetts General Hospital conducted the current study. The results show that aspartame, a sweetener, disturbs the efficiency of metabolism. It was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.
The research was done on mice. The findings revealed that aspartame contains phenylalanine. This product plays a role in disrupting an enzyme. The condition that arises due to such a disruption is observed in individuals suffering from heart disease or type-II diabetes. The study also found out that mice that had aspartame added to their drinking water ended up gaining more weight. These mice also ended up developing metabolic issues when compared to mice that didn’t get aspartame-added drinking water.
According to Dr. Richard Hodin, the senior author of the study, while aspartame is a substitute for sugar that is meant to promote loss of weight and even reduce the incidence of a person suffering from metabolic syndrome, numerous epidemiologic and clinical studies suggest that these chemicals don’t necessarily work well. They might even lead to making things worse for a person. The current research discovered that intestinal alkaline phosphatase or IAP, a gut enzyme, gets blocked due to aspartame. IAP plays a role in preventing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. That is why the team of researchers thinks that aspartame in diet sodas might not be beneficial, even as a sugar substitute because it blocks the benefits of IAP.
Previously conducted research has proved that phenylalanine inhibits IAP. Aspartame isn’t regarded as being useful for weight loss because it produces phenylalanine when digested. The experiment carried out for the current research was done in a manner that mimicked drinking diet soda. A total of 4 groups of mice were followed for 18 weeks. Two of the groups were provided a normal diet. However, one of the groups was given plain drinking water while the other was giving drinking water containing aspartame. The remaining two groups were fed a diet high in fat. One of these groups was given plain water, and the other had drinking water containing aspartame.
The mice in the group with normal diet and had aspartame consumed drinking water that was equal to a human drinking approximately three and a half diet soda cans on a daily basis. The mice on high-fat diet and aspartame infused drinking water consumed the human equivalent of about two cans of diet soda.
The results after the conclusion of the study period revealed that there wasn’t any significant difference in weight of mice on regular diet. The mice that were fed a high-fat diet and drank aspartame-water put on more weight compared to mice on the same diet but drinking plain water.
Higher levels of blood sugar were observed in groups of mice that received aspartame-water compared to groups of mice that were given the same diet but plain drinking water. Inflammation levels were also high in both groups that were given aspartame-water.
The researchers of the current study state that people need to realize why artificial sweeteners don’t necessarily work. Some conducted researches also suggest that such chemicals actually make people feel hungrier. Though some other factors might also play a role, the current study does show that the beneficial functions of IAP are inhibited due to aspartame.
However, the study has faced criticism from The British Soft Drinks Association or BSDA. The said association has claimed the results to be baseless. According to the Director General of BSDA, Gavin Partington, the current study was done on mice, and the results are contrary to numerous researches that support low-calorie sweeteners to be beneficial for people wanting to lose weight.