That's not ideal, and Hoffman said the tested "artificial sweeteners seem to exhibit negative effects linked to obesity and diabetes".
While the rats treated with glucose predictably did worse on a high-sugar diet, the researchers observed biological changes in the rats treated with the artificial sweeteners.
The researchers discovered that sweetener ingredients like acesulfame potassium were not being broken down by the body and began to have a harmful effect on the cells, which line blood vessels.
"The negative implications of consuming high amounts of dietary sugar on overall health have always been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other systemic health problems", the authors wrote in a statement.
More than one-third of US adults have obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number has increased since 1999.
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"We also observed that replacing these sugars with non-caloric artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism", lead researcher Brian Hoffmann said in a press release.
"It happens because artificial sweeteners are anywhere from a few hundred to thirteen thousand times as sweet as regular sugar and it sends signals once it hits the tongue to the brain to make you hungry, to slow your metabolism, and to store calories", says Dr. Mark Hyman.
More than 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, the CDC said in a report released a year ago. Another study showed that sweeteners combined with a low carbohydrate diet could significantly increase the quantity of calories consumed. The study, which was conducted on rats, showed that both sugar and artificial sweeteners affected the rats, but in different ways.
Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin say a study of rats has revealed that artificial sweeteners, commonly used in zero-calorie sodas, actually did as much harm to the body as a high-sugar diet. The key here is not about which sugar is better, it's about consuming them with moderation. It's just another indication to use replacement sweeteners in moderation. "As the dose of sucralose is increased more cells showed increased fat droplet accumulation". The main problem with artificial sweeteners is the fact that they might not help people lose weight at all, and that they might even contribute to weight gain.
The findings, which were presented during the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting held in San Diego, were not the first to suggest artificial sweeteners might have a negative impact on health.