“Stay away from diet soda!”, I used to say to my ex-roommate few years ago. My ex-roommate was very fond of a particular brand of diet soda. He drinks the diet soda almost everyday.
“Come on dude, it’s has very low sugar. I won’t get fat from this”, he often argued.
“But in the long run, you gonna wreck your body”, I retorted. I would then go on by making analogy that our body is a hungry person. That person then asks food from us. If we drink diet soda, we essentially gave that person food, but with no nutrients. After a while, that person will realize that he is still hungry. But he can’t say anything anymore, because we already duct-taped his mouth. If we repeatedly doing this, that person will surely gone crazy.
It was really a bad argument, I must admit. Because it was just based on purely hunches and fear of the unknown. But the good news is, a team of scientists are working to find out the effect of artificial sweetener to mouse. The complete article is HERE. If you found it TLDR, below is the points I summarized from the article.
- Our ability to extract energy from food is determined by our genes, and also by trillions of microbes in our digestive system.
- These bacterias are mostly (90%) come from two subgroups: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes.
- Firmicutes helps to extract more energy from food. But it will influences the body to store more energy as fat, rather than using it
- Firmicutes might affect body’s capability to produce leptin(hormone that limits appetite), making us to eat more that needed
- Genetically obese mouse has 50% more of Firmicutes and 50% less of Bacteroidetes
- If we transfer some population of Firmicutes to a normal-weight mouse, that mouse will become obese
- In human, obese people also have more Firmicutes than Bacteroidetes .
- As people lose weight, the population of Bacteroidetes increases, while the population of Firmicutes decreases
- In mouse, artificial sweetener enhances the population of Firmicutes
I know it’s far from conclusive proof, but these initial findings should become an early warning for us. After all, mouse and human are both mammals. The adverse effects that happened to mouse, could happen to us too.