Considering the whole point of sugar replacements is, indeed, to offer you the same sweet taste without any of the calories you find in normal sugar, it’s unfortunate news to realize they might actually be doing the complete opposite, indicates research from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Even though this is as counterintuitive as can be, it’s fact: researchers continue to be baffled at studies coming out concluding that sugar substitutes lead to poorer, not better, health. But a recent study seems to have found the answer as to why– it’s your gut bacteria.
The scientists conducted numerous experiments on mice that showed promising discoveries. First, they realized that mice who drank water with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose became glucose intolerant. Glucose intolerance is frequently the step just before worse, more severe, illnesses ranging from type 2 diabetes to metabolic syndrome.
Not surprisingly, on the other hand, a group of mice who were fed only plain water didn’t incur glucose intolerance– but, shockingly, neither did mice who drank water with normal sugar! This is odd, considering high-sugar diets are oftentimes the cause of type 2 diabetes.
After that, the researchers changed the mice’s gut bacteria makeup to understand the impact of artificial sugars on general glucose intolerance. They realized that if they exterminated a majority of the bacteria in the artificial sweetener-fed mice’s digestive systems, their glucose intolerance disappeared.
These researchers also started translating their conclusions to the human population. Evaluating existing data from the Personalized Nutrition Project, they uncovered a substantial correlation between self-reported consumption of artificial sweeteners, individual gut bacteria configurations, and a penchant for incurring glucose intolerance.
Lastly, they conducted a trial that measured gut bacteria levels in healthy people. After just one week of eating artificial sweeteners, the human subjects began showing glucose intolerance– and their gut bacteria composition had been altered!
These findings could pave the way for better understanding sugar substitutes’ adverse effects on our health– and why they seem to be even worse for us than real sugar!
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