Artificial sweeteners are bad choice for weight loss, increase risk of diabetes, study reveals
(NaturalHealth365) Those looking to shed a few pounds by using artificial sweeteners to cut calories may not only be sabotaging their diets but could be putting themselves at risk for diabetes and related health threats.
That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from multiple studies, including a recently published article in the journal Endocrine Practice and an older study published in Nature. But, of course, if we ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – they would say it’s safe.
Artificial sweeteners cause changes in gut bacteria, leading to elevated blood glucose levels
The review article published in Endocrine Practice focused on studies that evaluated the long-term and neurohormonal effects of artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame and sucralose. Alarmingly, researchers found alterations in the gut microbiome – indicating an inflammatory pattern of gut microbiota – in acute and chronic users of artificial sweeteners.
The older study came to similarly disturbing conclusions. Scientists found that non-caloric sweeteners can damage gut health, spurring glucose intolerance in mice and some people. The observed changes were nearly identical to the gut changes previously linked to obesity and diabetes in humans, the researchers noted.
They found that mice given a 10 percent solution of one of three commonly used artificial sweeteners – aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose – were found to have elevated glucose levels in their blood at 11 weeks when compared to mice receiving plain water or even a 10 percent glucose solution.
Elevated glucose, sometimes referred to as hyperglycemia, is associated with such ills as insulin resistance, early heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health complications. The condition has also been linked to a higher incidence of mortality.
Saccharin was found to have the most pronounced effects on gut health of the three artificial sweeteners used, though all impacted the microbiome and, subsequently, glucose levels.
In follow-up experiments, mice were fed a high-fat diet along with a 10 percent saccharin solution. The resulting impact on glucose metabolism mimicked results found when the animals were given a regular diet and a much higher saccharin dose. This suggests that higher fat consumption could intensify the saccharin’s metabolic impact.
Metagenomic sequencing revealed that mice given saccharin had a different gut bacteria profile than those given water or a glucose solution. Researchers were then able to identify a specific microbe-mediated mechanism that allows artificial sweeteners to impact glucose metabolism.
Higher blood glucose increases risk of diabetes and heart disease
The team found a similar metabolic response and change in gut bacteria in humans. Observing a group of 381 non-diabetic volunteers who answered questions about their eating habits, those who indicated they consumed artificial sweeteners also showed higher fasting glucose levels.
These same subjects exhibited poorer glucose tolerance and altered gut microbe profiles compared to those who did not consume artificial sweeteners. These differences were more pronounced when higher amounts of artificial sweeteners were consumed and persisted even when results were corrected for body mass index.
Misguided dieters risk illness and premature death
Results of the mouse and human trials add to evidence that consuming artificial sweeteners may actually lead to obesity and diabetes rather than helping consumers avoid these conditions. While the connection has been hinted at in previous studies, the Weizmann experiments were significant because they provided specific evidence about how these sweeteners change the population of intestinal bacteria.
A healthy gut bacteria profile is important since these microbes are responsible for directing metabolism, converting food into energy for the body or as stored fuel for later use. Sadly, artificial sweeteners are some of the most widely used food additives worldwide. Those unable to tolerate sugar and those looking to lose weight are drawn to products containing these alternative sweeteners.
Don’t be lured into danger by deceptive marketing tactics. Mounting evidence shows there are metabolic consequences to using aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners. The trade-off for a no-calorie sweet taste may come in the form of severe health problems. Is it worth the risk?
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
Natural Health 365
Natural Health 365 is a premium source of trending and popular health-related news, science, testimony & research articles on the most up to date and relevant natural health information. The Food & Nutrition articles found herein are meant to inform and advise our site visitors on eating healthy, nutritious foods and safely using supplements and vitamins to achieve optimal health.
Join thousands of daily visitors staying informed and involved on Natural Health 365! We seek out scientific solutions with proven results and it is our mission to keep you informed! Articles range in topic from the cancer fighting qualities of Olive Oil, to the remarkably high concentration of anti-oxidants found in blueberries, to how to make your own almond milk, to a nutritional comparison of organic vs conventional produce, to an analysis of the health benefits of tree nuts. You can find all of the Food News Articles here
Read Some of Our Most Popular Articles
Artichokes, Olive Oil, Almond Milk, Blueberries
More Food & Nutrition Articles
Fresh Organic Produce Fights Cancer, Susan G. Komen on Organic Foods, Hemp Seeds for Inflammation, Pau D’Arco For Improved Immunity
In addition to exploring health benefits of certain foods, vitamins and supplements, we also aim to connect healthy eating and balanced consumption of dietary supplements to long-lasting health and adding healthy, happy years to your life. For example, did you know that eating Granny Smith Apples on a regular basis can reduce your chance of building up unhealthy gut yeast? Or that ingesting ground hemp seeds can significantly reduce inflammation throughout the body? Perhaps you didn’t know that Fresh Organic Produce has been found to have higher concentrations of key, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and vitamins than conventional produce? You can find all of that information and more right here on Natural Health 365.
We’d love to know what you’re thinking! Please join the conversation on Facebook, post comments here on the website and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Please use and share the articles you find here with your friends, family and peers.