Artificial Sweeteners Do Not Satisfy Brain Like Real Sugar

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Manage episode 263401464 series 2530089
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A new study found that artificial sweeteners do not satisfy sugar cravings because of a special mechanism between the gut and the brain. Sugar refers to a number of substances the human body uses for energy. Consuming sugar activates a part of the brain that causes humans to feel happy. According to a previous study, sugar and artificial sweeteners trigger the same taste receptors, but artificial sweeteners fail to satisfy sugar cravings. A team of researchers from Columbia University investigated how and why this happens. In the study, the scientists sent sugar directly to the guts of mice, avoiding the sweet taste receptors in the animals' tongues. Results showed that even when the mice cannot detect sugar through their receptors, they still crave the sweet substance. After additional tests, the researchers detected an area of the brain that responds only to sugar located in the lower region of the brain. The path to it starts from the intestinal lining and travels through the vagus nerve, which relays information from the gut to the brain. The researchers found that cutting off this gut-brain connection dramatically eliminated the mice’s desire for sugar. The team also discovered that this gut-brain circuit disregards artificial sweeteners and favors glucose and similar sugar molecules. According to the researchers, the discovery of the gut-brain circuit can help experts to develop more effective ways to lessen people's constant craving for sugar. This, in turn, can positively impact public health, as millions of people worldwide are affected by diseases associated with too much sugar consumption.

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