Artificial Sweeteners Can Change Your Gut Bacteria

Posted 04/29/2015 | By HealthCorps

A new study suggests that the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in foods and drink may cause certain gut microbes to instigate glucose intolerance and metabolic disease. That translates to an increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners hit the food scene as a way to manage weight and diabetes. Now after decades of being used in the food industry, this study suggests that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners could be upsetting the balance of gut microbes and causing metabolic changes. Despite being sugar-free, these zero calorie ingredients may be having a direct effect on the body’s ability to utilize glucose. Glucose intolerance is the first step to developing metabolic syndrome and heightens the risk of diabetes.

The study first tested the theory on mice, and then, there was a second round with human subjects, who had never consumed artificial sweeteners. They were tasked to consume artificial sweeteners in various foods, for a full week.  Some, not all of the volunteers, began to show signs of glucose intolerance after just this one week of exposure.

The conclusion is that regular use of these artificial sweeteners may actually induce the very conditions we are trying to avoid, namely weight gain and diabetes.

(Source: Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, Eran Elinav, PhD)

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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