And not just for blood sugar – artificial sweeteners are supposed to be helpful for weight loss and achieving overall health, too.
Even if they weren’t good for you, they were supposed to be neutral when it comes to achieving or maintaining good health.
Unfortunately, new studies are indicating that what you’ve always been taught, may not be so accurate after all.
Gut Health and Glucose Tolerance – Why They Matter
First, came the artificial sweetener in the pink packet. Then the blue packet. Then the yellow packet.
And each one was supposed to taste better, be safer, and act more like sugar in your body than the last one.
But a recent animal study showed that none of them acted like sugar once they were consumed.
When researchers gave mice plain water, sugar water, or water flavored with one of the three artificial sweeteners, there was a clear distinction – especially in gut flora and how it affected blood sugar.
See, gut flora is the bacteria that impacts so many aspects of your health, including blood sugar, your immune system, skin health, even depression.
The mice who were fed the plain water and the sugar water showed no changes in gut flora or ability to process glucose. But the mice given the water with artificial sweetener showed a noticeable change in gut flora and a “marked” glucose intolerance, regardless of which artificial sweetener they were drinking. It even took medicinal intervention to return gut flora to its healthy state.
So what’s the problem? It’s complicated, but bear with me for a moment.
Healthy gut flora plays a vital role in overall health, including how your body deals with glucose. Since artificial sweeteners aren’t absorbed by your body, they are still intact and able to interact with the healthy, important bacteria in your gut once they get into your digestive tract. But this interaction throws your gut flora out of balance, making it unhealthy.
When your gut flora becomes unhealthy, it contributes to glucose intolerance.
And glucose intolerance means that your body doesn’t manage sugar as efficiently as it needs to – and that can lead to metabolic syndrome or even full-blown diabetes.
So the very artificial sweeteners you’re using to help control your blood sugar may be causing it to spike even more.
But These Were Mice…What About Humans?
When researchers looked at a human study on gut flora and overall health, they discovered that people using artificial sweeteners had unhealthy guts when compared to people who didn’t use artificial sweeteners.
In light of these findings, a small study was done on humans using the artificial sweetener in the pink packet and they got the same results as both the study on mice and the previous human study.
More than half of the participants using the pink artificial sweetener saw their blood sugar levels altered.
The studies were small, but they were eye-opening. And they definitely deserve our attention.
After all, the point of using artificial sweeteners is to protect your blood sugar levels and improve your overall health.
If they really are making you unhealthy, then that’s worth knowing about.