A series of experiments conducted by researchers in Israel suggests that artificial sweeteners are a causative factor in metabolic disorders like glucose intolerance, a forerunner to diabetes.
According to New Scientist, chemical sweeteners have caused glucose intolerance in mice because they alter the bacterial balance in the gut, and early testing shows they do the same in some human subjects.
“The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent,” said study co-author Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel to New Scientist.
The study’s abstract — published in the journal Nature — said, “Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial.”
Elinav and co-author Eran Segal said, “Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.”