While the medical industry continues to promote artificial sweeteners as a healthy alternative to sugar, and while major food corporations insert these alternatives into food products unnecessarily, research by Professor Jennifer Kuk of York University in Toronto suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually be responsible for increased levels of type 2 diabetes and that people who consume them may have worse glucose management.
Artificial sweeteners are used to replace sugar and the argument behind them centers around the fact that they are allegedly not digested by humans, but the recent study has demonstrated that the well-treaded claim of non-digestibility may not actually be true.
In reality, research is demonstrating that gut bacteria might be able to break down artificial sweeteners but as a result, gut bacteria becomes altered and thus, a trigger for diabetes. As Professor Kuk says, “our study shows individuals with obesity who consume artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don’t take sugar substitutes.”
Kuk’s study published in AppliedPhysiology, Nutrition and Metabolism involved more than 3,000 adults.
The results of the current study illustrate that aspartame consumption is associated with augmented obesity related deteriorations in glucose tolerance, in fasting glucose. Thus, more research is needed to better understand the weight-management benefits of artificial sweetener consumption over natural sugars against the potential increased diabetes risk, particularly for those with obesity.
Kuk also stated that individuals who consumed artificial sweeteners – in this case, aspartame or saccharin – also had a slightly higher BMI and were more likely to be female. According to the Daily Mail, previous research in mice has demonstrated changes in gut bacteria that result in glucose intolerance related to saccharin consumption.