Diet sodas may confuse brain's 'calorie counter'

Diet sodas may confuse brain's 'calorie counter'

Sugar-free drinks may make sweet-detecting circuits numb to the real stuff

By Janet Raloff, 17:33 PM June 12, 2012

By baffling the brain, saccharin and other sugar-free sweeteners — key weapons in the war on obesity — may paradoxically foster overeating.

At some level, the brain can sense a difference between sugar and no-calorie sweeteners, several studies have demonstrated. Using brain imaging, San Diego researchers now show that the brain processes sweet flavors differently depending on whether a person regularly consumes diet soft drinks.

“This idea that there could be fundamental differences in h...

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