APR 03, 2015 12:35 PM PDT

Artificial Sweeteners May be Making Us Fatter, Not Slimmer

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
Talk about irony! Last year, a team of scientists concluded from studies of mice that ingesting artificial sweeteners might actually be making us fatter and sicker.

The May 17, issue of Scientific American, entitled "Artificial Sweeteners May Change Our Gut Bacteria in Dangerous Ways," explores these findings as well as other observations about the complex relationships between intestinal bacteria and artificial sweeteners.

An excerpt from the article by Ellen Ruppel Shell appears below. For the complete article visit scientificamerican.com.

Many of us, particularly those who prefer to eat our cake and look like we have not done so, have a love-hate relationship with artificial sweeteners. These seemingly magical molecules deliver a dulcet taste without its customary caloric punch. We guzzle enormous quantities of these chemicals, mostly in the form of aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, which are used to enliven the flavor of everything from Diet Coke to toothpaste. Yet there are worries. Many suspect that all this sweetness comes at some hidden cost to our health, although science has only pointed at vague links to problems.

Last year, though, a team of Israeli scientists put together a stronger case. The researchers concluded from studies of mice that ingesting artificial sweeteners might lead to-of all things-obesity and related ailments such as diabetes. This study was not the first to note this link in animals, but it was the first to find evidence of a plausible cause: the sweeteners appear to change the population of intestinal bacteria that direct metabolism, the conversion of food to energy or stored fuel. And this result suggests the connection might also exist in humans.

In humans, as well as mice, the ability to digest and extract energy from our food is determined not only by our genes but also by the activity of the trillions of microbes that dwell within our digestive tract; collectively, these bacteria are known as the gut microbiome. The Israeli study suggests that artificial sweeteners enhance the populations of gut bacteria that are more efficient at pulling energy from our food and turning that energy into fat. In other words, artificial sweeteners may favor the growth of bacteria that make more calories available to us, calories that can then find their way to our hips, thighs and midriffs, says Peter Turnbaugh of the University of California, San Francisco, an expert on the interplay of bacteria and metabolism.

Source: scientificamerican.com
About the Author
You May Also Like
JAN 31, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 31, 2020
Wuhan Coronavirus: WHO Declares Global Emergency
Since the first cases of a novel Coronavirus were detected in Wuhan, China a few weeks ago, the virus has spread around the globe....
FEB 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
FEB 05, 2020
Should You Be Using Marijuana While Pregnant? Researchers Weigh In
Recreational marijuana use becomes increasingly common as legalization spreads across the country. That includes women who are pregnant and women in the mo...
FEB 07, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 07, 2020
Could False Cannabis Information Online Be Harmful To Public Health?
Under federal law, cannabis is illegal and considered a class 1 drug, meaning that it is perceived to have no medical value, with a high potential for user...
FEB 06, 2020
Technology
FEB 06, 2020
3D Skin Printer Promotes Healing
Researchers at the University of Toronto Engineering, Sunnybrook developed a new handheld 3D printer that can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wo...
FEB 19, 2020
Microbiology
FEB 19, 2020
Cases of Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Start to Rise Outside of China
The novel coronavirus that recently emerged in Hubei province, China is called SARS-CoV-2, and it can cause a wide range of symptoms....
FEB 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 24, 2020
Breast Cancer Screening, without the Radiation
Researchers from the University of Waterloo have developed a prototype of a novel technology that is capable of screening for breast cancer without using r...
Loading Comments...