Artificial Sweeteners, Glucose Intolerance, and the Gut Microbiota

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

I finally read the abstract of the Nature paper finding that artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota:

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.


  1. Bruce says:

    Those of us who like to wash down a Snickers with a diet Pepsi are screwed then.

  2. S says:

    The correlational stuff was always a bit lacking, but the pathway identified in this study has changed my mind.

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