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Can artificial sweeteners disrupt blood sugar via its effect on gut bacteria?
According to a study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2018 Annual Meeting, the use of low-calorie sweetener capsules altered the gut microbiota in favor of the pathogenic bacteria compared to the capsules used on the placebo group. This alteration, caused by consuming artificial sweeteners, increased bad bacteria and decreased beneficial ones. This disruption in gut balance lead to certain metabolic consequences that are harmful to the consumer.
Researchers found that after two weeks of supplementation, the experimental group showed increase glucose absorption and glycemic response while the response to glucagon production decreased thereby altering glucose metabolism. More sugar isn’t absorbed while the mechanism regulating sugar metabolism is disrupted. Due to this finding, experts say that the use of low-calorie sweeteners can actually interact with the effects of diabetes medication making them less effective in the long run.
Long-term data is still not present to make a conclusive interpretation as of the moment. Experts now believe that the use of low-calorie sweeteners should be in moderation as it has been shown to have both negative and positive effects on weight control.
European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2018 Annual Meeting