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Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.

Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira G, Thaiss CA, Maza O, Israeli D, Zmora N, Gilad S, Weinberger A, Kuperman Y, Harmelin A, Kolodkin-Gal I, Shapiro H, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E (2014) Nature  doi: 10.1038/nature13793. [Epub ahead of print] Nature publishing group

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here.

Abstract:

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike.

NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial.

Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota.

These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS.

We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects.

Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

This study shows that artificial sweeteners can cause gut dysbiosis, and lead to metabolic changes linked with increased risks for both Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

For an accessible summary of these findings and their implications, please see the associated news article and FAB comment:

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