A New Hidden Danger of Artificial Sweeteners

    Artificial Sweeteners

    Almost as soon as a new artificial sweetener comes out, it seems like new health risks are exposed.

    Some claim the sugar industry is behind the negative reports on artificial sweeteners, while others claim that manufacturers hide the potentially harmful effects.

    But one concern settles around the question of, “If sugar substitutes are so popular, then why are Americans still overweight?’

    A recent study shows that artificial sweeteners and its effect on our gut biome may be the cause.

    There are literally trillions of bacteria running around in our digestive track.

    Our bodies are basically bacteria carriers with two legs—about 4.5 pounds of our total body weight is gut bacteria alone.

    Gut bacteria has the very important job in helping our bodies digest food and use it for fuel.

    Additionally, gut bacteria plays a huge role in our immune system, and a lack of healthy gut bacterium can cause sensitivity to certain foods, create food allergies, or result in chronic autoimmune disorders.

    But it may also affect our weight.

    Scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and King’s College London in the UK found that a certain strain of bacteria was more prevalent in people with a low body weight and that the presence of this strain is highly influenced by genes.

    What’s more, when this bacterium was introduced into the guts of mice, the animals gained less weight.

    Some people have gone as far as attempting stool transplants to get their weight under control, hoping it will replenish inadequate bacteria.

    The chemistry journal, Molecules, recently weighed in on the issue with a study that shows artificial sweeteners may play a role in the negative effects on gut health.

    “It is known that the gut microbiota plays a key role in human metabolism and recent studies indicated that some artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could perturb gut microbiome and further affect host health, such as inducing glucose intolerance.”

    Researchers found that six common artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration were found to be toxic to the digestive tract microbes in mice.

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have also done studies that show aspartame to be toxic to gut bacteria.

    “This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues,” says Ariel Kushmaro, professor of microbial biotechnology at Ben-Gurion University..

    But even if you don’t use artificial sweeteners doesn’t mean you aren’t consuming them.

    Because of the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks, many people consume them without knowing it.

    In fact, researchers have noted artificial sweeteners to be found in drinking water.

    In addition to being bad for our health, some sweeteners have been identified as environmental pollutants.

    This new approach to understanding artificial sweeteners may give one reason to avoid all products made with artificial sweeteners until more evidence is discovered.