We are hardwired to like the taste of sugar as it is a trigger for the brain to expect food. If sweeteners are substituted for sugar often, it signals the brain that calories are coming, but they don’t.
Artificial sweeteners only partially activate reward pathways, as they are sweet (which we enjoy for pleasure), but do not have the calories that we need for energy
By not fully activating these pathways, artificial sweeteners can be potentially harmful because they trick our brains. This can cause us to overeat in order to feel satisfied, or to crave even more sweetness later on.
Research shows that consuming artificial sweeteners in excess (or as a replacement for sugar entirely) is dangerous. There are differences in how our brains and bodies process sugar and sweeteners. BOTH have negative side effects when over indulgence is a factor.
Over-consumption of artificial sugars alters the body’s ability to process real sugar, through changes in the gut microbiota and insulin levels.
This can lead to type 2 diabetes—while at the same time making people crave more sugar and cause them to overeat to satisfy the need.