[Something Paul Stitt said years ago, but this will vanish down the memory hole.]

On a diet? Then put away those sweeteners... because they may help you GAIN weight
Last updated at 9:01 AM on 03rd September 2009

Artificial sweeteners do nothing to help weight loss and could actually cause us to pile on the pounds, scientists say.

Our bodies are unable to distinguish between the calorie-free sugar substitutes widely used in the food industry and the real thing, research suggests.

Artificial sweeteners behave in a similar way to sugar, by activating sensors in the gut which are key to the absorption of glucose.

As a result, the body processes extra sugar – and all the calories that go with it. For the dieter, it means little or no weight loss. Over time, it could even lead to extra pounds being put on.

Researcher Soraya Shirazi-Beechey said: ‘If someone wants to lose weight, I don’t think artificial sweeteners are going to help.

‘My recommendation is to eat natural foods, but to eat less of them.’

The Liverpool University professor studied the processes in the small intestine by which the sugar or glucose from food is absorbed into the bloodstream.

She identified specific cells which detect sugar, releasing hormones essential for its passage through the lining of the gut and into the blood, where it is either burned off or is converted into fat.

Crucially, these cells release the hormones when confronted by artificial sweeteners. This primes the gut to absorb real sugar.

Prof Shirazi-Beechey said: ‘Artificial sweeteners can also activate the glucose sensor and increase the capacity of the intestine to absorb more sugar.

‘You drink diet cola to stay slim but the reverse is true, because the artificial sweeteners can activate the sensor, so you are taking more glucose from your diet.’

Drugs which control the sugar sensor cells, leading to more or less entering the bloodstream, could help treat diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

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