Nowadays, there are plenty of low-calorie sweeteners on the market. Some even boast zero calories. This has allowed many of us to indulge in our favorite treats without having to worry too much about the negative effects they may have on our health — like heart disease, risk of weight gain or Type 2 diabetes. In fact, almost half of adults in the U.S. consume some form of artificial sweetener each day.
But what if that enticing sweet taste is more of a problem than you realize?
Research at the University of Illinois published in the journal Nutrients sought to test a hypothesis that one of the most common artificial sweeteners, sucralose, [SOO-kruh-lows] affects the metabolism of people of moderate weight and people who are obese in different ways.
Although the research determined that the former group experienced less of an insulin spike than individuals living with obesity, researchers also noticed something else: Intriguingly, and contrary to what they expected, merely tasting the sweetener created its own metabolic effect as well.
According to the study, both groups of people — those within a normal weight range and those who aren’t — experienced a drop in their insulin response when they tasted sweetness without actually drinking a glucose solution.
The researchers theorized that just the sweet taste itself has an impact on how the body breaks down carbohydrates and regulates its glucose levels.
More research will be required before any significant conclusions can be drawn. But for now, the biggest takeaway is that when deciding whether to consume any sort of sweetened beverage or food, the old adage is true: everything in moderation.