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Research indicates that artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes and obesity

Posted:  Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Artificial sweeteners are used everywhere! In sugar-free baked foods, colas, chewing gums, ready-to-eat cereals and even feature as an accompaniment to evening beverages.

Their no-carbohydrate, low calorie quality has made them popular not only among dieters and people with diabetes but also among the health conscious. But the question is, “Do they really help in controlling blood glucose levels and aid in weight loss?” Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have found that contrary to what they are supposed to do, artificial sweeteners may instead promote obesity and diabetes.

Published in Nature, in the study found that mice that were fed water containing glucose and an artificial sweetener (either saccharin, sucralose or aspartame) for 11 weeks developed glucose intolerance (elevated blood sugar levels), but mice that drank water alone or water containing only sugar did not.

These results were further corroborated in studies done in non-diabetes human subjects. The researchers have found that long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners increases bodyweight, waist-to-hip ratio, fasting blood glucose levels and glycosylated haemoglobin levels in non-diabetes people.

According to the researchers, artificial sweeteners altered the metabolism by interfering with the gut bacteria in mice. They found that the in the presence of artificial sweeteners, the gut was colonised by those bacterial taxa that were previously associated with type 2 diabetes.

They also found that in mice supplemented with saccharin, there was a change in the glycan gradation pathway, which is associated with increased short-chain fatty acid formation. Any alteration in this pathway has been previously linked to obesity and diabetes in both human and animal models.

“Together with other major shifts that occurred in human nutrition, the increase in the artificial sweetener consumption coincides with the dramatic increase in obesity and diabetes epidemics,” said Eran Elinav, senior researcher.

He concluded by saying, “Our results point towards the need to develop new nutritional strategies tailored to the individuals while integrating personalised differences in the composition and function of the gut microbiota.”

For study details:-Click Here!