Diet soda is a popular alternative for people looking to get their sweet tooth fix while cutting back calories. However, a recent study from the Weitzman Institute of Science in Israel proposes that there may be some change that occurs from consumption of diet soda that alters gut microbe composition and heightens risk of development of glucose intolerance. In the investigation, mice were fed zero-calorie sweeteners, such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose, which are commonly found in diet sodas. Consequently, glucose intolerance resulted in these mice, which additionally had an increased risk of diabetes.
Head researchers, Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, of the project arranged additional experiments to observe if the same outcome would occur in humans. Seven recruited volunteers were instructed to consume 10-12 packets of artificial sugar within one week. It was found that four out of the seven developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose levels even after short-term exposure to artificial sweeteners”. Elinav and Segal believe that it is possible that introducing artificial sugars into the human gut may cause microbes important to glucose maintenance to be moved out of the colon, while other groups of microbes multiply.
Though it may be too early to say for certain that zero-calorie sweeteners are linked to increased risk of diabetes, the Elinav and Segal study is another significant point in the ongoing controversy over diet sodas.
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