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Artificial Sweeteners New Suspect in Diabetes

September 21, 2014
Plain English Version

Artificial-sweetener 1

First, we were told to limit how many sugary beverages we drink. And that is still good advice.

Now scientists have new findings. They looked at the effect of artificial sweeteners on mice. You know the sweeteners they mean: Sweet ’N Low, Splenda and Equal.

They put the sweeteners in the drinking water of mice. There were metabolic changes in the mice. The sweeteners altered something called the “microbiome.” That means sweeteners may change the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

Intolerance to glucose increased in the mice. That means the body is less able to cope with large amounts of sugar. It can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Researches treated the mice with antibiotics. The glucose intolerance went away. They do not know why.

The researchers then examined 381 people who do not have diabetes. Those that used artificial sweeteners had higher levels of glucose intolerance.

Seven volunteers who did not use sweeteners were given them over a six-day period. The blood-sugar levels of four were disrupted as they were in the mice.

Other studies of artificial sweeteners have been conducted. The findings are confusing. Some say the sweeteners help with weight loss. Others say people who drink diet soda may put on weight. Studies of the link to diabetes are not clear.

Some doctors are finding the mice study very interesting. However, they say it is not conclusive. Experts say it will not yet result in changes in recommendations. Much more research will be needed in the future.

However, if you use a lot of artificial sweeteners, it may be time to cut back.

Source: The New York Times September 17, 2014

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