By Stephen Buxser, Ph.D, Nerac Analyst
Originally Published: October 27th, 2014
A recent article about the effects of non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NASs) on gut microflora and on gut and nutritional physiology has profound implications for the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes. NAS use appears to alter gut microbiota in a substantial way that has direct effects on glucose tolerance and the utilization of polysaccharides and sugars in the diet. Relationships between short chain fatty acids and insulin regulation and between the composition of gut microflora and obesity have been reported previously. One element previously lacking was a more direct indication of what may initiate changes associated with the diseases. Suez, et al. report a series of experiments using mice and showed substantial changes in gut microflora as well as induction of glucose intolerance in NAS-fed mice. The changes in microflora and the accompanying glucose intolerance appear to be more directly causally related than previously thought. Importantly, results were also presented showing similar events in humans. The work summarized below provides important insight into a potential unexpected association between the frequent consumption of NASs, and the coincidental increase in both obesity and diabetes.
 (2014) Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. (Nature online preprint Sept. 17, 2014 doi: 10:1038/nature13793) Nature 514: 181-186.
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