Did you hear that? That was the collective shriek of diet-soda drinkers after reading about the latest study linking artificial sweeteners to hunger.
Previous research has connected the non-booze part of Taylor Swift's favorite cocktail with increased appetite and calorie consumption and gaining more belly fat than people who didn't drink diet soda. Now, Australian researchers believe they've determined why our brains respond to fake sugar this way.
They gave fruit flies food laced with sucralose (brand name Splenda) for five days while a control group got food sweetened with table sugar. The Splenda flies ate 30 percent more calories than the control, and when they took away the artificially sweetened food, the effect vanished.
RELATED: Best diets for every budget
Best Diets for Every Budget
Best Diets for Every Budget
Named U.S. News and World Report's best overall diet for four years in a row, this diet is definitely worth investigating. The DASH Diet integrates whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, low- or non-fat dairy and fish or poultry, while limiting high-fat foods, salt and red meat. While fresh fruits and vegetable will cost you, cutting most red meat from you diet will make this diet wallet-friendly.
While the Paleo diet (eating like our ancestors did) isn't usually thought to be a low-price option, there are some simple ways you can do it on the cheap. Paleo Diet Lifestyle recommends buying products like olive oil in bulk, choosing cheap cuts and buying bone-in meats and buying whole or canned fish.
Traditional Mediterranean diets are proven to be incredible for your health! Even better, according to LearnVest, if you choose an inexpensive olive oil and stay away from the pricier varieties of products like tuna steak and chardonnay, you can expect to keep your bill within reason.
People often report feeling better, mentally and physically, after giving up gluten. This diet can be affordable if you follow one rule: eat foods that are naturally free of gluten. Products made specifically for gluten-free diets are often pricey. Opt for frozen or in-season fruits and veggies to keep produce prices low.
LearnVest calls the vegan diet "a steal" if done smartly. Be sure to cook for yourself rather than buy expensive prepared vegan cuisine. You can also find tofu for just half the price of ground beef per pound.
The Atkins diet helps dieters lose weight by cutting carbs from their diets. To make this protein-rich diet budget-friendly, try underrated cuts such as chuck and sirloin, always buy whole chickens and experiment with pork.
This government-endorsed diet centers around lowering cholesterol and begins with setting calorie goals. These calorie levels and limits on dietary cholesterol should curb overeating and help keep you within your budget. Cutting fatty meats can also help your bill.
The flexitarian diet closely resembles a vegetarian diet, but when a craving for meat strikes, they indulge. Flexitarians not only weigh 15 percent less than carnivores, but they also save money by spending less on pricey meat.
Number nine on U.S. News and World Report's best overall diets, the Ornish diet focuses on the overarching way you eat, exercise and live rather than on the specifics of your diet. Since the diet is so individualized, most of the time, it can work with any budget. Still, planning ahead and buying in bulk can keep costs down.
This trusted diet can help you shed between 6 and 10 pounds in two weeks and 1 to 2 pounds each week after until you reach your goal. The diet concept is split into two concepts, "Lose It" and "Live It." Dieters are discouraged from dining out during the "Lose It" stage and encouraged to cook at home, keeping your wallet happy.
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After looking at the flies' nerve impulses, they found that the brain's reward centers associate sweet tastes with the expectation that a flood of calories is coming. Since the artificially-sweetened food provides fewer calories than the brain expected, the brain puts out a call to get more food. As the lead researcher said in a release: "When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed."
They replicated the study in mice and got similar results: mice given food with fake sugar for seven days ate 50 percent more than mice given food with real sugar and the mice had the same nerve impulses involved. The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Scientific American says it's too early to fully apply these findings to humans but the case against artificial sweeteners is getting stronger by the day. And this is not to say that you should start drinking regular soda instead of diet — at the very least, experts believe there is some metabolic consequence to consuming fake sugar.