Sweeteners: The Effects on your Body are not so Sweet

Did you know 86% of American use “diet” products and consumers spend $21 billion dollars per year on diet drinks? Clearly they believe these diet foods and beverages will help them in ways real foods do not provide.

Is that hope true or is it just a magical wish?

At the World Obesity Conference last month researchers presented studies showing the less than sweet effects of fake sweeteners in mice and humans.

Their research gave detail to show that when mice where given beverages containing water, sucrose, glucose, saccharin (Sweet and LowTM), aspartame (NutraSweetTM) and sucralose (SplendaTM) the results were dramatically different. The fake sweeteners caused blood glucose levels to rise at least 20% above sugar and water using various dosages in both lean and obese mice. Clearly the little pink, blue and yellow packets did not lead the mice towards health.

After this finding the researchers theorized that the sweeteners were affecting the gut bacteria of the mice, causing the glucose intolerance. To test this theory they transferred the gut bacteria of the mice that were given the sweeteners into germ free mice, and observed the same phenomenon – glucose intolerance.

Conclusions: artificial sweeteners drive glucose intolerance in mice by altering their gut microbiota. Translation – sweeteners are not good for your healthy gut bacteria and increase your blood sugars.

To test this result in humans they then studied 900 people using similar protocols.

Result: some people respond in the same way as mice and some do not – they called them “responders” and “non-responders.”

Obesity research now shows it is all about how your gut metabolizes food and that can determine whether you are normal or overweight, how often you get sick, and whether you are at risk for cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

You may be a “non-responder” but why take the risk? By avoiding diet products Americans could save both their money and their health.

Maybe the magic is in eating or drinking to keep your gut bacteria healthy, giving true credence to all the gut slogans we hear on a regular basis.

Although the research on the gut microbiome is “new” maybe it’s something we’ve known all along and just needed to be reminded of: “listening to your gut” can truly lead you towards health.