Alternative sweeteners can raise blood glucose

While zero-calorie sweeteners bring a little sweetness to our lives without prompting significant or obvious blood sugar spikes and are said to pass through the body without significant interaction with one’s metabolism., some studies have previously found that artificial sweeteners are associated with unfortunate metabolic outcomes like weight gain and poor glycemic control.

A new and high-quality study of four common sugar alternatives (aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia) has directly tested the effects of these on human beings. Two of the sweeteners – saccharin and sucralose – were found to lead to blood sugar spikes, while all four were associated with significant changes in gut microbiome profiles, directly contradicting the idea that non-nutritive sweeteners are “inert” and pass through the body without interacting.

However, Senior author Dr. Eran Elinav, an immunologist and microbiome researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the German National Cancer Center (DKFZ), has emphasised that the glycemic changes identified in the study occurred in “a highly personalised manner” since different volunteers had different responses, so it is impossible to predict exactly how any one of us might react to the same ingredients. However, Dr Elinay stressed that, despite the results of his study, sugar “is clearly most harmful to our metabolic health.”

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