Anyone just happen to read the New York Times on Sept 17.? Yeah, In big bold letters, ” Artificial sweeteners (AS) may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes”, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/artificial-sweeteners-may-disrupt-bodys-blood-sugar-controls/.
Powerful and very important message don’t ya think? The non-caloric sugar substitute created to help cut sugar from the diet and increase food options for diabetics, help lower calories and aid in weight loss has just been found to do the exact opposite. After all these years of throwing our money down the drain (paying more for these products too)and acting as human guinea pigs we now find out this food ingredient causes the very same problems it is trying to correct.
The business of selling and adding artificial sweeteners to the food supply is a $2-4 billion dollar business. Unfortunately, the public has paid for that with our health.
The study The New York Times refers to is published in “Nature” and the researchers, Eran Elinav et. al., from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that AS changed gut bacteria causing fluctuations in sugar metabolism that mimic diabetes. Admittedly the sample size for the experiment is small but I believe that even if it happens in one, it is possible to repeat itself in others. If you are that one, it is very relevant to you.
The researchers did consecutive trials:
- Mice were fed plain water, water with Sweet’N Low, Splenda or Equal, water with sugar or glucose. The mice who drank water with artificial sweeteners “developed marked glucose intolerance” as a result of changes in the natural gut flora. The mice with glucose intolerance were then given antibiotics that killed the gut flora and the glucose intolerance went away.
- Researchers also took a sample of the gut bacteria in the mice that were glucose intolerant and then injected the bacteria in mice that had never consumed artificial sweetener. The injected mice then developed glucose intolerance. “DNA sequencing showed the artificial sweetener changed the variety of bacteria in the guts of the mice that consumed it.”
- Then the researchers compiled data on 381 non diabetic individuals and found a connection between “the reported use of any kind of artificial sweeteners and signs of glucose intolerance. In addition, the gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were different from those who did not.”
- For one week, seven human volunteers (who normally did not use artificial sweeteners) “consumed the maximum amount of saccharin recommended by the United States Food and Drug Administration. In four of the seven, blood-sugar levels were disrupted in the same way as in mice.” Then they used bacteria from the four volunteers who developed glucose intolerance and injected it into the gut of mice. The mice, then also developed glucose intolerance.
Seems pretty straight forward right? Yes but there is so much more to take from this if you read between the lines:
- Gut bacteria seems to be another point of interest in understanding blood sugar disorders.
2.This research seems to suggest that there may be a variety of ways blood sugar abnormalities occur and some may at least originally be independent of insulin abnormalities.
- While the information is compelling, is it really shocking that a man-made chemical might have a deleterious effect on health? We know trans fats and corn syrup negatively affect risk factors for heart disease, blood sugar and other health factors.
Looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon as researchers continue to delve deeper into solving some of the questions about the influence of artificial sweeteners on health but until then I suggest you avoid being a guinea pig. Artificial sweeteners seem to be another white powder to avoid.