Israeli Scientists Discover New Danger Caused by Artificial Sweeteners

Israeli Scientists Discover New Danger Caused by Artificial Sweeteners

By Yehudit Garmaise

Coffee-drinkers and others who use artificial sweeteners are likely better off choosing regular sugar after an Israeli research team found that the chemical substitutes can cause significant health complications. 

While medical researchers have long-suspected artificial sweeteners of causing cancer, now Professor Eran Elinav, MD, PhD, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science also published a study that proves that chemical sweeteners alter gut bacteria and harm users’ abilities to properly process glucose.

“We should not assume [artificial sweeteners] are safe,” Elinav said while acknowledging that his team’s concerns could be disproven by other scientists. 

Eight years ago, Dr. Elinav’s research team first sounded the alarm on artificial sweeteners after testing their effects on rodents.

This strongly challenges the common assumption that sweeteners provide a harmless hit of sweetness without any health cost, Elinav adwhich included his former graduate student Dr. Jotham Suez, who is now a principal investigator at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Yotam Cohen, a graduate student in Dr. Elinav’s lab, and Weizmann’s Professor Eran Segawarned about the dangers of artificial sweeteners based on a study that used rodents, but now for the first time Dr. Eilnav has peer-reviewed results that prove the same results with human subjects.

Now, the team’s latest study on humans repeated the results that show that the four most common sweeteners: saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and stevia cause unhealthy changes in gut bacteria.

After monitoring the effects of artificial sweeteners on dozens of adults, Dr. Elinav said, “Our trial has shown that non-nutritive sweeteners may impair glucose responses by altering our microbiome,” which is the collection of all bacteria, fungi, and viruses that naturally live on and inside our bodies. 

“Although microbes are so small that they require a microscope to see them, they contribute in big ways to human health and wellness,” says the website of the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences.

Photo: Flickr

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