More bad news for artificial sweetener users

October 1, 2018, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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.

Explore further: Why zero-calorie sweeteners can still lead to diabetes, obesity

More information: Dorin Harpaz et al, Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel, Molecules (2018). DOI: 10.3390/molecules23102454

Related Stories

Why zero-calorie sweeteners can still lead to diabetes, obesity

April 22, 2018
Increased awareness of the health consequences of eating too much sugar has fueled a dramatic uptick in the consumption of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners in recent decades. However, new research finds sugar replacements ...

Artificial sweeteners won't affect your blood sugar: study

May 30, 2018
(HealthDay)—Can an artificially sweetened drink or food really satisfy your sweet tooth without raising your blood sugar levels?

Should you replace sugar with artificial sweeteners?

September 12, 2017
We know Australians are consuming too much sugar. The latest results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 52% of the population are consuming more than is recommended, and this is affecting weight and dental health.

Sugar substitutes may cut calories, but no health benefits for individuals with obesity

May 24, 2016
Artificial sweeteners help individuals with obesity to cut calories and lose weight but may have negative health effects, according to researchers at York University's Faculty of Health.

Artificial sweeteners linked to risk of weight gain, heart disease and other health issues

July 17, 2017
Artificial sweeteners may be associated with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

torbjorn_b_g_larsson
1 / 5 (1) 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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.