Sweeteners in Light Products Can Change the Intestinal Flora

Artificial sweeteners, for example in light drinks, can lead to changes in the intestinal flora in the long term. A recent study models the effects of saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame.

In a small experiment, Israeli researchers discovered that blood sugar levels deteriorated after consuming saccharin. This could be one reason why light products do not help you lose weight and, on the contrary, can even lead to weight gain.

Infections caused by saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame

Sweeteners have long been suspected of altering the microbiome. An in vitro study now provides the first indication of how the three sweeteners most commonly used in foods and beverages work on the intestines: the researchers showed in laboratory experiments that saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame influence healthy intestinal bacteria. As soon as the bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis had absorbed the substances in the intestine, they changed and were then able to penetrate the intestinal wall.

The actually useful bacteria can cause great damage as soon as they leave the intestine. For example, when E. faecalis across the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream, it accumulates in the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen and can cause a variety of infections.

Even small amounts of sweeteners apparently bring about changes

According to the model experiment, small amounts of the sweeteners tested are sufficient to change the concentration of intestinal bacteria. According to the researchers, even at a physiological concentration of 100 micrograms, these can change the intestinal flora and make infections more likely – a quantity that can easily be achieved in the daily diet. If so-called biofilms and clumps form on the intestinal wall, the bacteria located there are not only protected against antibiotics but can also secrete toxins that can lead to diseases.

Avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar

In order to prevent harmful changes in the microbiome, one should try to avoid artificial sweeteners altogether – and rather generally wean oneself off sugar consumption. After a short time, the sense of taste changes, and the desire for sweetness decreases significantly.

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