Studies indicate that, on some level, we know real from fake. So what does that mean with regard to weight loss? Poor Diet Coke!

New research adds another dimension to the uncertainty: It suggests that even when artificial sweeteners fool the taste buds, they still don’t fool the ultimate arbiter of our appetites — our subconscious brains.

The latest evidence for this comes from a brain scanning study performed in the Netherlands. Paul Smeets, a neuroscientist at University Medical Center Utrecht, used a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain responses in people sipping two versions of orangeade, one containing sugar and one containing a mix of four artificial sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame K, cyclamate and saccharin.

The mixture of artificial sweeteners was concocted to match the taste of real sugar as closely as possible. And the sugary and artificial drinks were administered on different days — making it harder for the tasters to notice any difference between the two. Subjects often guessed wrong on which drink was which. “They didn’t know,” Smeets says.

– from LAtimes