Horrifying - New Study Says Popular Sugar Substitutes Worsen Your Memory

Horrifying – New Study Says Popular Sugar Substitutes Worsen Your Memory

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners has also impacted metabolic signaling in the body, which can lead to diabetes and other metabolic-related diseases.

Using laboratory models, scientists have found that ingesting FDA-approved levels of saccharin, ACE-K, and stevia early in life can cause many changes in the body, including brain areas related to memory and reward-motivated behavior.

High-sugar diets in early life have been linked to impaired brain function, but what about low-calorie sugar substitutes? According to recent research, they may have a negative impact on gut and brain development.

The news

Researchers from Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California report that adolescents who consumed the low-calorie sweeteners saccharin, ACE-K, and stevia had impaired long-term memory in a recently published study. in the journal. JCI Overview.

  • The findings are consistent with other studies that have demonstrated sustained memory impairment in adolescent sugar-consuming rats.
  • Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners also affected metabolic signaling in the body, which can lead to diabetes and other metabolism-related diseases.
  • Rats that ate low-calorie sweeteners in adolescence were less likely to work for sugar in adulthood, but they ate more sugar if it was readily available, which is another factor that may influence the risk of develop a metabolic disease.
    diet cola soft drink

    Diet soft drinks often use low-calorie sugar substitutes such as stevia and acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K, which can have long-term effects on memory, behavior, and metabolic function.

why is it important

There is a wide range of advice on what to eat and when to eat it. According to the researchers, information from studies like these can help consumers and healthcare professionals make better decisions at all stages of life.

“While our results do not necessarily indicate that a person should not consume low calorie sweeteners in general, they do highlight that habitual consumption of low calorie sweeteners early in life can have unintended and long-lasting effects,” said said Scott Kanoski, associate professor of biological sciences at

Founded in 1880, theUniversity of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. It is located in the heart of Los Angeles.

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What It Means for Humans

While most studies of low-calorie sweeteners focus on one substance and use amounts far exceeding the norm, the researchers made sure the study was in line with real-life conditions for people.

  • Sweeteners tested include saccharin, acesulfame potassium (ACE-K) and stevia — which are commonly used in sweetened foods.
  • The amount of sweetener consumed fell within FDA-approved guidelines for humans.

In Their Words

“Research using rodent models and low-calorie sweeteners has typically involved consumption levels that far exceed the FDA ‘acceptable daily intake’ (ADI) levels and used only a single sweetener. To design our research to be more applicable to humans, we kept consumption levels within the ADI and used multiple low-calorie sweeteners to determine if effects were specific to a given sweetener or general across sweeteners.” — Lindsey Schier, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife

The Experiment

To determine the effect of low-calorie sweetener consumption on memory, the researchers used methods that test object recognition and spatial recognition.

Rats were provided water sweetened with either stevia, ACE-K or saccharin or plain water, along with their normal food.
After a month, the rats’ memory was tested using two different methods — one tests if they remember an object they’ve seen before and the other is a maze.
In the end, rats consuming sweetener were less likely to remember an object or the path through the maze than those that drank only plain water.

What Else?

The scientists also found other effects among the rats after they consumed sweeteners.

  • They had fewer receptors on their tongues that detect sweet taste.
  • The biological mechanism in their intestines that transports glucose into the blood was altered.
  • Their brains had changed, specifically in regions associated with memory control and reward-motivated behavior.

What’s Next?

Kanoski and Schier say the findings reveal more questions worth exploring, including:

  • How do sweetener substitutes cause a reduction in sweet taste receptors and how does that affect later dietary behavior?
  • What does the change in the nutrient transport in the gut mean for health?
  • What biological mechanisms link sweetener consumption with the changes to the brain?

The researchers say they intend to explore ways to reverse the long-lasting effects of adolescent low-calorie sweetener consumption and to study how it influences food choices and preferences later in life.

Reference: “Early-life low-calorie sweetener consumption disrupts glucose regulation, sugar-motivated behavior, and memory function in rats” by Linda Tsan, Sandrine Chometton, Anna M.R. Hayes, Molly E. Klug, Yanning Zuo, Shan Sun, Lana Bridi, Rae Lan, Anthony A. Fodor, Emily E. Noble, Xia Yang, Scott E. Kanoski and Lindsey A. Schier, 13 September 2022, JCI Insight.
DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.157714

The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Insitute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the National Science Foundation. 

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