Purdue University researchers said the study results could explain why a growing number of people in the United States lack the natural ability to limit their food intake and body weight as the consumption of artificially sweetened foods has dramatically increased in the past 25 years.
"The body's natural ability to regulate food intake and body weight may be weakened when this natural relationship is impaired by artificial sweeteners," Terry Davidson, an expert in behavioral neuroscience, said in a statement.
"Without thinking about it, the body learns that it can use food characteristics such as sweetness and viscosity to gauge its caloric intake. The body may use this information to determine how much food is required to meet its caloric needs," he said. The loss of the body's ability to count calories could also lead to increased food intake and subsequent weight gain, especially among people who don't count calories on their own, the researchers said.