Popular artificial sweeteners are toxic to gut bacteria

Illustrative

Illustrative

The collaborative study indicated relative toxicity of six artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k) and 10 sport supplements containing these artificial sweeteners.

Sweeteners are used in an array of products, with researchers concerned people may unknowingly be consuming the harmful ingredient. Further negative news in regards to artificial sweeteners is that they have also been identified as emerging environmental pollutants being found in drinking and surface waters, as well as groundwater aquifers; potentially the tested bioluminescent bacterial panel could be used for detecting artificial sweeteners in the environment.

"My recommendation is to not use artificial sweeteners", Ariel Kushmaro, a professor of microbial biotechnology at Ben-Gurion University, told Business Insider.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

The researchers believe the reason to be that the food consumed throughout the day made up for the calories not found in the artificially-sweetened beverages.

Their findings were published in the journal Molecules. The bacteria that is found in the digestive system turned toxic when they are exposed concentrations as low as only one mg./ml. of the artificial sweeteners.

In a lab trial, all six of the sweeteners were exposed to bacteria that are commonly found in the gut, and these bacteria were then genetically modified to contain fluorescent compounds which glow when they detect toxins. During the study, researchers discovered artificial sweeteners weren't linked to a reduction of weight or BMI (body mass index) and actually increased the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It only takes 1mg/ml for the substance to adversely affect gut bacteria.

Could artificial sweeteners seriously damage your health?

Kushmaro is planning to run more tests of gut bacteria in the hopes of zeroing in on the mechanisms at work in an artificial sweetener-altered human gut.

Researchers are still cautious about all artificial sweeteners, including stevia, because research studies to date have painted a confusing picture of their potential health benefits and harms.

As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.