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Artificial sweeteners have long been promoted as diet and health aids. But breaking research shows that these products may be leading to the very diseases they were said to help prevent: scientists have discovered that, after exposure to artificial sweeteners, our gut bacteria may be triggering harmful metabolic changes.
These findings, the results of experiments in mice and humans, suggest that the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in drinks and food (and even in medicines for children and adults) may be contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is sweeping much of the world.
For years, researchers have been puzzling over the fact that non-caloric artificial sweeteners do not seem to assist in weight loss, with some studies suggesting that they may even have an opposite effect.
Even though even though they do not contain sugar, the Israeli research team discovered that artificial sweeteners still have a direct effect on the bodys ability to utilise glucose. Glucose intolerance generally thought to occur when the body cannot cope with large amounts of sugar in the diet is the first step on the path to metabolic syndrome and adult-onset diabetes.
Unsafe, even at USDA approved levels
In the first experiment the scientists …
Artificial sweeteners caused changes in glucose tolerance in humans, as well, but only for some participants the investigators consider to be “responders.” A group of 7 healthy volunteers who do not normally consume artificial sweeteners were given saccharin for 6 days at a dose that met the US Food and Drug Administration's maximum acceptable daily intake of saccharin for humans. No participants saw improvements in glucose tolerance, but 4 showed impairment.
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