Obesity, diabetes and other intestinal disorders have been linked to a person’s consumption of artificial sweeteners. According to researchers, non-caloric artificial sweeteners change intestinal flora and induce gut dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in people. Glucose intolerance appears when your body cannot cope with high amounts of sugar and this is when type 2 diabetes begins. Obesity […]
Obesity, diabetes and other intestinal disorders have been linked to a person’s consumption of artificial sweeteners. According to researchers, non-caloric artificial sweeteners change intestinal flora and induce gut dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in people.
Glucose intolerance appears when your body cannot cope with high amounts of sugar and this is when type 2 diabetes begins. Obesity will also come into play as excess sugar in your blood will be stored as fat.
Most diabetes patients and, some people who want to avoid sugars, make the great mistake of taking diet foods or sodas ignoring that these are laden with artificial sweeteners making their situation worse.
Artificial Sweeteners alter your gut microbiome and cause Glucose Intolerance
Saccharine, Aspartame, and sucralose, three kinds of artificial sweeteners, were tested on mice and resulted in the animals’ developing glucose intolerance. Of all three, saccharine caused really high glucose levels. When tested on humans, four out of seven people developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose.” Gut bacteria was altered in just a few days. The bacteria developing in the gut, although not ideal, could actually be a defense mechanism to help the organism cope with the high level of glucose.
Another study in 2008 showed sucralose can alter rats’ microbiome by killing out good bacteria in its gut. In 2012, a research published in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology saw a link between aspartame and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The research, reported in “The Scientist”, stated that saccharin-fed mice, as well as mice receiving a fecal transplant from saccharin-fed mice, had a different microbiome balance than regular sugar-fed mice or mice that were never given any sweeteners.
The Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Elevated Blood Sugar
There is a direct negative relationship between using artificial sweeteners and developing elevating high blood sugar levels. Studies in mice showed that even unborn mice exposed to aspartame developed insulin sensitivity and even impaired brain function. Cathryn Nagler who writes for the journal “Nature” finds the report “very compelling” and suggests that we reassess our “extensive use of artificial sweeteners”.
Obesity on the rise
American adults have experienced a rise in obesity in the last ten years. Between 1999-2012, American’s average waistlines increased from 95.5 centimeters to 98.5 centimetres. The period extending over 2011-2012 also saw a rise in abdominal fat from 46.4 percent to 54.2 percent; and this phenomenon is spreading into the UK and all over Western Europe.
Mail Online reports obesity is now deadlier than smoking and people are spending more on weight loss surgery than on prevention. 25% of adults and 20% of kids are now obese and these rates are increasing. NHS Chief executive Simon Stevens will publish a set of plans to solve this problem. Junk food should be banned from cafeterias and canteens, Doctors and nurses should be healthy role models for this program. Private companies will have slimming programs to encourage staff to lose weight. Mr Stevens said “Obesity is the new smoking, and it represents a slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs…”
Artificial sweeteners are commonly used by diabetics or people who are trying to lose or manage their weight. Regrettably, this could be the worst decision that they will ever make. More and more research show the same results: artificially sweetened, “no” or “low” calorie or diet food make you want to eat more, thus, increasing your body fat and your weight, which will eventually lead you to have diabetes.
Artificial sweeteners do this to you: trick your body into wanting to eat more, produce metabolic dysfunctions that lets you gain weight and alter your gut microbiome.
The UT Health Science Center in San Antonio publicized 2 important studies proving that drinking diet soda could increase our waistline and Aspartame was the reason for high blood sugar levels in mice. Helen P. Hazurda, PhD, Chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine stated that “the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised. They may be free of calories but not of consequences”.
Studies Refuting “Diet” Claims
The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010 review enumerated an historical summary of the evidence given by epidemiologists and proven by experiments about the connection between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. As the use of artificial sweeteners rose, so did obesity rates.
Preventive Medicine 1986 Mar;15(2):195-202
|This study examined nearly 78,700 women aged 50-69 for one year. Artificial sweetener usage increased relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gain weight, compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners—regardless of their initial weight. According to the researchers, the results “were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data do not support the hypothesis that long-term artificial sweetener use either helps weight loss or prevents weight gain.”|
|Physiology and Behavior, 1990||In this study, they determined that intense (no- or low-calorie) sweeteners can produce significant changes in appetite. Of the three sweeteners tested, aspartame produced the most pronounced effects.|
|Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1991||In a study of artificial sweeteners performed on college students, there was no evidence that artificial sweetener use was associated with a decrease in their overall sugar intake either.|
|International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, 2004||This Purdue University study found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids. The researchers believe the experience of drinking artificially sweetened liquids disrupted the animals’ natural ability to compensate for the calories in the food.|
|San Antonio Heart Study, 2005||Data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study also showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda. On average, for each diet soft drink the participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese.|
|Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2010||This study delves into the neurobiology of sugar cravings and summarizes the epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight. According to the authors: “[F]indings suggest that the calorie contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant. …Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners… [A]rtificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence.”|
|Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2010||This review offers a summary of epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effects of artificial sweeteners on weight, and explains those effects in light of the neurobiology of food reward. It also shows the correlation between increased usage of artificial sweeteners in food and drinks, and the corresponding rise in obesity.|
|Appetite, 2012||Here, researchers showed that saccharin and aspartame both cause greater weight gain than sugar, even when the total caloric intake remains similar.|
|Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013||This report highlights the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. The researchers speculate that frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners may induce metabolic derangements.|
This study was able to clearly show causality, revealing there’s a direct cause and effect relationship between consuming artificial sweeteners and developing elevated blood sugar levels.
People who consumed high amounts of artificial sweeteners were found to have higher levels of HbA1C—a long-term measure of blood sugar—compared to non-users or occasional users of artificial sweeteners.
Seven volunteers who did not use artificial sweeteners were then recruited, and asked to consume the equivalent of 10-12 single-dose packets of artificial sweeteners daily for one week.
Four of the seven people developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose,” according to the researchers. Some became pre-diabetic within just a few days.
The reason for this dramatic shift was traced back to alterations in gut bacteria. Some bacteria were killed off, while others started proliferating.
Source: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine June 8 2010: v83(2)
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Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.
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