Artificial sweeteners might not be all they’re cracked up to be with a new study finding they could increase the risk of Type-2 diabetes.
Associate Professor Richard Young from the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide found that the sugar substitutes can alter the body’s response to glucose and reduce the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
For their study, researchers divided their subjects into two groups. They fed one group two different artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame-K) everyday and the other group a placebo.
These were consumed in the form of capsules taken three times a day before meals over the two-week period of the study. At the end of the two weeks, subjects had their response to glucose tested, examining glucose absorption, plasma glucose, and levels of insulin and gut peptides.
They determined that just two weeks of artificial sweetener consumption was enough to alter the body’s glucose absorption and increase the magnitude of the blood glucose response as a result.
“This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes,” the study’s authors said.
Previous studies have lined artificial sweeteners to weight gain and poor gut health and experts have warned that there is little research to prove the long-term benefits of the sugar substitute.
Associate Professor Zane Andrews, head of the Neural Control of Energy Homeostasis Laboratory, warned said that artificial sweeteners can trigger a response from many parts of the body.
“People often choose artificially sweetened drinks as it’s perceived they are better for you because they are calorie free. However, recent research is beginning to breakdown this perception.
“To produce their effects in the body, artificial sweeteners act on sweet taste receptors.
“One would commonly assume that these are in the mouth, and they are, but intriguingly they are also found in other parts of the body such as the intestines.”