More bad news for artificial sweetener users

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FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sport supplements were found to be toxic to digestive gut microbes, according to a new paper published in Molecules by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The collaborative study indicated relative toxicity of six artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k) and 10 sport supplements containing these artificial sweeteners. The bacteria found in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to concentrations of only one mg./ml. of the artificial sweeteners.

"We modified bioluminescent E. coli bacteria, which luminesce when they detect toxicants and act as a sensing model representative of the complex microbial system," says Prof. Ariel Kushmaro, John A. Ungar Chair in Biotechnology in the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, and member of the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev. "This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues."

Artificial sweeteners are used in countless food products and soft drinks with reduced sugar content. Many people consume this added ingredient without their knowledge. Moreover, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging environmental pollutants, and can be found in drinking and surface water, and groundwater aquifers.

"The results of this study might help in understanding the relative toxicity of artificial sweeteners and the potential of negative effects on the gut microbial community as well as the environment.

Furthermore, the tested bioluminescent bacterial panel can potentially be used for detecting in the environment," says Prof. Kushmaro.

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More information: Dorin Harpaz et al, Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel, Molecules (2018). DOI: 10.3390/molecules23102454
Citation: More bad news for artificial sweetener users (2018, October 1) retrieved 23 October 2019 from
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Oct 02, 2018
Seems most zero sugar drinks use less than 70 % of the harmful concentration [ https://en.wikipe...spartame ].

But that measurement is troublesome, they don't use standard LD50 but an own bioluminescence method where I don't see any comparison with standard methods or even uncertainty characterization so one can use appropriate thresholds for change and know what they mean.

Also, this putative harm was seen in the most sensitive strain - some strains did not see any harm at 1000 times the concentrations - and it is hard to understand what that means for the digestive tract.

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