Individuals who regularly consume artificial sweeteners are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and depression compared to those with a lower intake, new evidence shows.

Data published last year shows that more than two million people in the UK consume artificial sweeteners a minimum of four times a day.

Previous research from the Sorbonne University in Paris has revealed that artificial sweeteners are up to 13,000 times sweeter than natural sugar.

When a large number of sweeteners are consumed, the human brain recognises them as normal and starts to dislike blander foods such as fruit and vegetables.

Research conducted at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital analysed the artificial sweetener intake and health outcomes of roughly 32,000 females.

The results show that sweeteners are linked with depression as they can trigger the transmission of particular signalling molecules in the brain – an important factor for mood.

Artificial sweeteners are also linked with type 2 diabetes as they can stop the body from being able to regulate blood sugar levels healthily, research has reported.

Prior studies have discovered that the sweeteners saccharin and sucralose can increase the blood sugar levels of healthy individuals.

Other research also shows that artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, despite many people ditching sugar for sweeteners in an attempt to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by losing weight.

This is because individuals who frequently drink artificially sweetened beverages are more likely to eat sugary snacks compared to those who drink water or sugar-sweetened drinks, academics from Texas Christian University have identified.

According to recent research, artificial sweeteners prime people’s metabolisms to prepare for a large influx of calories – and when the calories don’t arrive, the body ramps up its appetite cravings in search of the missing calories, so people subsequently binge on junk foods.

Researchers from Bordeaux University said: “Evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs.”

Dietitian Helen Bond said: “’We’ve been steadily swayed into eating processed foods with artificial sweeteners, but certainly finding everyday items such as affordable packaged bread and cereals free of sweeteners should be easy.

“At the same time, we can adjust comparatively easily to eating naturally sweet fruits and vegetables in season, such as apples, as well as foods with natural sweetness such as oats.”

A spokesperson from the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) stated: “The ISA believes it is a disservice to public health to not recognise low/no calorie sweeteners’ role in reducing sugar and calorie intake and aiding in weight control.”

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Twice daily dairy intakes could reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Eating cheese, yoghurt or eggs twice a day could help lower the…

Public Health England considers low carb approach for type 2 diabetes

The low carb approach is being considered by the government to be…

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…