Research suggests artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame trick our brains into being unable to control our energy intake.
Critics of New York's proposed soda ban have pointed out that the measure contains some major loopholes. Convenience stores would still be free to sell large, sugary drinks, for example. Sweetened alcoholic beverages are also exempted from the bill. And researchers Mayor Bloomberg cited think the whole thing might backfire. But perhaps the biggest omission in Mayor Bloomberg's plan has to do with an entirely other class of fizzy, sweetened drink: diet sodas.
In fairness to Bloomberg, the science up until now linking diet beverages to poorer health outcomes has been inconclusive, at best. We think there might be a connection to heart attack and stroke, but many researchers challenge those findings. Another study has associated diet soda with bigger waistlines, but there again, the scientists couldn't confirm whether the relationship was causal.
The murky waters of diet soda science may have just gotten a little clearer, though. New research shows that the sugar substitutes used in diet beverages actually change how our brains' reward areas work.