The consumption of artificial sweeteners was first encouraged as part of the fight against obesity. But the idea is now controversial, as well as the effects that these substances could have on our health. Researchers now claim that artificial sweeteners are damaging our microbiota.
Artificial sweeteners are damaging human microbiota
Nowadays, artificial sweeteners are found in many products as food additives. Low-sugar drinks take advantage of them to attract as many people as possible. We even consume it without our knowledge.
However, these so-called artificial sweeteners are suspected of inducing adverse effects on our health. In this regard, a recent study conducted by researchers at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, and the Nanyang University of Technology of Singapore revealed the relative toxicity of six of the most common artificial sweeteners to the human microbiota (the gut bacteria).
According to the researchers, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium are causing an unhealthy disruption in the bacteria populations in our intestines.
Artificial sweeteners also cause weight gain, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes
Seven of the clinical trials the researchers conducted were randomized controlled trials (the standard of clinical research) and included more than 1,000 people followed for an average of six months. The team found that clinical trials did not show a clear benefit or significant harmful effect of sweeteners on weight loss, although they are generally promoted for this purpose.
Additionally, the more extended observational studies included in this meta-analysis also showed a link between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and a relatively higher risk of weight gain, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
“Caution should be exercised until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully understood,” says Meghan Azad, lead author of the study. “Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, further research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products,” she concluded.