Artificial sweeteners may be toxic to digestive gut microbes

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New studies find that artificial sweeteners may be toxic to gut microbiome.

Science Daily reports that researchers from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological Institute in Singapore modified E. coli to light up when exposed to toxins, using it as a sensing model representative of the complex gut microbial system.

Exposure to six types of popular artificial sweeteners, which include aspartame and sucralose among others, had a toxic, stressing effect that made it difficult for the bacteria to grow and reproduce.

A separate study carried out in Australia looked at 29 healthy adults and randomly administered the capsule equivalent of drinking 1.5 liters of diet soda a day to 14 of the participants. The other 15 were given a placebo, according to a report in Diabetologia.

After two weeks, the amount of good bacteria in the 14 subjects' gut had decreased, while gut pathogens had increased — potentially affecting the body's ability to regulate glucose.

But while both studies' findings are compelling, experts say they are insufficient to establish causality. It's also it's difficult to assess what exactly these gut marker changes mean to overall health.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of modified E. Coli bacteria luminescing when they detect toxicants
2. Depiction of bacteria turning toxic when exposed to artificial sweeteners
3. Depiction of human adults randomly administered with sweetener in capsule form
4. Depiction of decreased beneficial gut bacteria, increased gut pathogens

VOICEOVER (in English):
"Researchers from Israel and Singapore modified E. coli to light up when exposed to toxins, using it as a sensing model representative of the complex gut microbial system."

"Exposure to six types of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and sucralose, had a toxic, stressing effect that made it difficult for the bacteria to grow and reproduce."

"A separate study carried out in Australia looked at 29 healthy adults and randomly administered the capsule equivalent of drinking 1.5 liters of diet soda a day to half the participants."

"After two weeks, the amount of good bacteria in the subjects' gut decreased, while gut pathogens increased — potentially affecting the body's ability to regulate glucose."

SOURCES: Diabetologia, Science Daily, Science Media Centre
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/d-nsr100318.php
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181001101932.htm
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-conference-abstract-on-low-calorie-sweeteners-gut-bacteria-and-blood-sugar-control/