FOOD CHEMICALS: The Artificial Sweetener—Obesity Link Explained…New Scientific Study Links Synthetic Sweeteners to Increased Blood Sugar Levels and Obesity
See study here: Artificial Sweetener Study
Artificial sweeteners may exacerbate, rather than prevent, metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, a study suggests. Calorie-free artificial sweeteners are often chosen by dieters in part because they are thought not to raise blood sugar levels.
Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners may raise blood sugar levels—a condition the sugar substitutes aim to help prevent—by altering digestive bacteria… a first-of-its-kind study suggests one reason why diet sodas and their ilk don’t seem to have made much difference in the obesity crisis. The answer may lie within ourselves, or at least in the bacteria in our intestines that are exposed to artificial sweeteners, a joint team headed by Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot report in the journal Nature…
To see if the effect extends to humans, the team first looked at 381 people in a nutritional study headed by Segal. They found links between artificial sweetener use, symptoms of obesity and elevated blood sugar, and the kinds of altered gut bacteria seen in the mice.
In particular, the study noted a 20-fold increase in the numbers of Bacteroides fragilis bacteria, linked to inflammation in the gut.
Finally, as a proof of concept, the team enrolled five adult men and two adult women who didn’t use artificial sweeteners in a one-week experiment. In the experiment, the volunteers ate the FDA’s recommended allowance of saccharin, about 120 milligrams daily; they had their blood sugar levels checked every five minutes and underwent a daily glucose tolerance test.
"Notably, even in this short-term seven-day exposure period, most individuals (4 out of 7) developed significantly poorer glycemic [blood sugar] responses," says the study. Normal mice fed fecal samples from the four human volunteers with glucose intolerance developed the same condition…
Along with a historical shift toward processed foods over the past century, the move toward artificial sweeteners “coincides with the dramatic increase in the obesity and diabetes epidemic,” the study concludes. "Our findings suggest that [artificial sweeteners] may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic they themselves were intended to fight."
Source: Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota, Jotham Suez, et al. Nature (2014)doi:10.1038/nature13793