Artificial Sweeteners May Lead to Toxic Gut Microbes

Artificial sweeteners have a dark side. It’s been discovered the additives that are often used in sugar-free foods and beverages are toxic to digestive gut microbes.

According to Molecules, the journal that published a study on the effects of artificial sweeteners, the six most common artificial sweeteners were toxic to gut microbes in mice. The study also revealed that 10 sport supplements had the same effect.

The toxicity of sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, advantame, neotame, and acesulfame potassium-k were tested, and it only took one milligram per millimeter of the substances to turn the bacteria toxic.

The study was conducted by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

“This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues,” says Ariel Kushmaro, a professor at BGU.

The study says that the gut microbes “play a key role in human metabolism.” These sweeteners can affect the health of those who ingest them. The effects of Neotame, a new FDA-approved sweetener are unknown.

However, the mice who ingested neotame had drastically different metabolic responses than those who didn’t ingest the substance. Several vital genes found in the gut were dramatically lower in the mice who ingested the sweetener. Amounts of cholesterol, fatty acids, and lipids were higher in those who ingested neotame, as well. 

Many people consume these sweeteners without knowing it because they are so prevalent. Some have been labeled as environmental pollutants, and they can even be found in water.