Artificial sweeteners in diet soda are toxic to gut bacteria

Alicia Farmer
October 5, 2018

The sweeteners, which included aspartame, acesulfame potassium-K, neotame, advantame, saccharine, and sucralose, and 10 sports supplements that contain these flavors, have gained popularity because they don't have as much sugar.

Scientists at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, analyzed how FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements could affect E. coli bacteria.

"The results of this study might help in understanding the relative toxicity of artificial sweeteners and the potential negative effects on the gut microbial community, as well as the environment", said Professor Ariel Kushmaro, John A. Ungar chair of Biotechnology Engineering in the Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering. These products are designed as a substitute for sugar and often used by diabetics or low carb dieters as a way to minimize their blood glucose levels. Additionally, artificial sweeteners have been also identified as emerging environmental pollutants, and they can be found in drinking and surface water, and also in groundwater aquifers.

Materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

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For decades, scientists have had a tough time figuring out what artificial sweeteners are really doing to our bodies.

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Their findings were published in the journal Molecules.

It found that the bacteria in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to tiny concentrations of the sweeteners. The E. coli the scientists used in their study luminesced when it detected toxins.

However, where weight loss is concerned, a study at the end of 2016 found that in the short-term, deciding between sugary beverages and beverages with artificial sweetener produce the same result.

Lead author Kushmaro said, 'We are not claiming that it's toxic to human beings we're claiming that it might be toxic to the gut bacteria, and by that, will influence us.

In fact, artificial sweeteners can actually damage your digestive tract; specifically, your gut's natural bacteria.

In short, if you want to be good to your belly, it's probably best to limit your intake of candies of all kinds, both the sugary and the sugar-free.

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