More Bad News For Artificial Sweetener Users

Leslie Hanson
October 5, 2018

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.

Artificial sweeteners and sports supplements are toxic to digestive gut microbes, says a new study.

This is according to research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

And while all of the tested sweeteners are deemed "safe for consumption" by the Food and Drug Administration, the results of this study suggest further testing is necessary - especially since these sweeteners are in so many products that most individuals consume them without their knowledge. Artificial sweeteners are used in countless food products and soft drinks with reduced sugar content.

Those artificial sweeteners are also found in microwave popcorn, fruit juice, yogurt and many other items, even when the label reads "natural sweeteners", since the FDA doesn't have a legal definition of the word "natural".

"My recommendation is to not use artificial sweeteners", Ariel Kushmaro, a professor of microbial biotechnology at Ben-Gurion University, told Business Insider.

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

Their findings were published in the journal Molecules.

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.

For this study, Kushmaro and his team exposed a special kind of bioluminescent E. coli bacteria to common artificial sweeteners.

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.

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

In a lab trial, all six of the sweeteners were exposed to bacteria that are commonly found in the gut, and these bacteria were then genetically modified to contain fluorescent compounds which glow when they detect toxins.

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