Popular artificial sweeteners are toxic to gut bacteria

Illustrative image of an artificial sweetener

Illustrative image of an artificial sweetener

Many people consume this added ingredient unknowingly, the researchers said in a statement.

The effects artificial sweeteners have on consumers' health continues to be a popular area of research, as numerous findings from previous studies have been inconclusive or conflicting.

The researchers tested six artificial sweeteners, aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k, on lab mice.

Because scientists now claim that sweeteners found in Diet Coke and other soft drinks could damage the naturally occurring bacteria in your stomach.

A recent study has determined that several artificial sweeteners - all of which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - are toxic to consumers' digestive systems. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia.

These sweet chemicals have also been identified as environmental pollutants which are increasingly being found in drinking and surface water.

Kushmaro's latest research on artificial sweeteners was published in the journal Molecules last week.

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"Consumption of artificial sweeteners has been linked with adverse effects such as cancer, weight gain, metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes and adjustment of gut microbiota activity", the researchers said.

However, a key finding was the short-term nature of this study, as the researchers did point out that artificial sweeteners do affect body weight and energy levels in the long-term.

After dosing the E. coli bacteria with artificial sweeteners "hundreds of times", Kushmaro concluded the sweeteners had a toxic, stressing effect, making it hard for gut microbes to grow and reproduce.

It found that the bacteria in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to tiny concentrations of the sweeteners.

"E. coli is an indigenous gastrointestinal microorganism and serves as a model for the gut bacteria", Kushmaro said.

In humans, previous research has suggested that consuming artificial sweeteners is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and strokes.

"Furthermore, the tested bioluminescent bacterial panel can potentially be used for detecting artificial sweeteners in the environment".

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