Sweeteners can negatively affect your blood sugar

Ever since the first artificial sweetener was discovered in 1879, the food industry’s “miracle cures” have promised a lot of sweets without calories.

But now lets a new study published in the scientific journal Cell see that some sweeteners may not be as harmless as many people think, and that at worst they can increase your risk of diseases like diabetes.

Below the recommended limit

Al in 2014 the researchers behind the study found that some artificial sweeteners attack the microorganisms in the gut of mice, causing harmful changes in their blood sugar levels.

And now they wanted to see if the same was true for humans.

The researchers screened more than 1,300 individuals to single out those who do not consume artificial sweeteners at all in their daily lives.

In the end, they had 120 participants divided into six groups: two control groups and four groups who had to take a very small dose of less than 0.25 grams of aspartame, saccharin, stevia or sucralose each day.

The participants were therefore given less artificial sweetener than the maximum recommended intake by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Human poop transferred to mice

One of the biggest discoveries was that all four artificial sweeteners caused significant changes in gut microbes after just 14 days, and thus in the molecules that gut bacteria can secrete into the bloodstream.

And this shows that the complex community of microorganisms in our gut is sensitive to each of the artificial sweeteners in different ways, according to the researchers. One cause may be that the sweeteners serve as food for the microorganisms that create an imbalance.

The researchers further found that sucralose and saccharin also hindered the body’s ability to convert glucose, thus having a negative effect on the participants’ blood sugar. Impaired glucose tolerance is not a disease, but it can increase the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The researchers did not find those changes in blood sugar levels in the subjects given aspartame or stevia.

To make sure there was a link between the changes in the gut and those in blood sugar, the researchers transferred tiny stool samples from the subjects to mice raised in a sterile environment.

The blood sugar in the mice appeared to change in the same way as in the people who had given up their stools.

According to the researchers, more long-term studies are needed to understand what changes in blood sugar and gut could mean for our health. But the discovery is still an eye-opener.

“We need to raise awareness that artificial sweeteners are not inactive in the human body as we originally thought,” says study leader Eran Elinav in a press release.

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