Coca-Cola ingredients: Artificial sweeteners — and why consumers still put on weight

Coca-Cola uses different sweeteners in different products — aspartame, aceulfame K and stevia ones of the steviol glycosides. They are all widely used in the food industry.

There is also evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with more weight gain than even consumption of free sugars. There are various scientific hypotheses as to why.

In a layperson’s terms, it seems that our brains and our metabolism treats artificial sweeteners as though they were sugar. And for those of you who are interested in the science behind it all, here are links to two relevant papers:

  1. Yang et al (2010) Gaining weight by ‘going diet’? Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Journal of Biology and Medicine.
  2. Suez et al (2014) in the prestigious Nature journal: Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.

Concerns about the carcinogenic effects have been raised too, though regulatory bodies in both the US and Europe — and the NHS discredit these concerns. (See, for example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest here — you’ll need to scroll down; the NHS on acesulfame K here.)

[Featured image is by Lorena.]

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