The Brain Knows When You’re Eating Fake Sugar, Study Finds

The brain’s reward center doesn’t respond to artificial sweeteners the same way it does to real sugar
Lauri Andler

The brain can tell the difference between real sugar and artificial sweeteners.

To put it simply, when you eat real sugar, a little bit of dopamine is released into the brain, signaling the receptors that make us feel like we’ve been given a reward. It’s long been thought that when we consume artificial sweeteners our brain doesn’t process it as a reward, but now a study has confirmed just that, according to The Huffington Post.

A study that was published in The Journal of Physiology shows that hungry mice who were given the option of sugar over artificial sweetener — even of the artificial sweetener was much sweeter than the sugar — chose the real sugar, because that’s the one that signals the "reward" feeling.

So what does this mean? If you rely on artificial sweeteners for your sweet fix, it literally doesn’t "hit the spot" that real sugar does, leading to not feeling satisfied, leading to overconsumption later on.

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So while it’s still not smart to be guzzling regular Coke by the gallon, if you’re looking for your sugar fix, there’s really nothing like the real thing.