Is It All That Sweet When It Comes To Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are considered by many to be a healthy substitute to sugar because they don't impact blood glucose levels or contain the calories. But are artificial sweeteners all that sweet when it comes to your health, despite being added to many food and beverage products on the market?
A 2014 study conducted on mice found that those fed artificial sweeteners developed significant glucose intolerance within 11 weeks. Glucose intolerance is a key feature of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity, whereby your body becomes inefficient at using glucose (sugar) as fuel which in turn drives fat storage and damage to your cells.
As we know, the bacteria that live in our digestive tract play a vital role in our health. The researchers wanted to see if the bacteria living in the digestive tract of the mice, had any role to play with the development of their glucose intolerance. To test this, they fed the mice antibiotics. This would kill any bacteria present and therefore impact their glucose intolerance if they did in fact play a role. The results showed that the antibiotics cured the glucose intolerance in the mice.
From this study, it is suggested that changes in the gut flora were responsible for the development of glucose intolerance and it was the artificial sweeteners that altered the type of bacteria in their digestive tract. This further reinforces that certain types of bacteria will promote health whilst others will promote disease and certain foods will promote a healthy gut flora whilst others will promote the growth of a disruptive one.
Here are some tips to ensure you keep your gut bugs healthy.
- Processed foods and artificial sweeteners
- A diet high in sugar, fat, refined carbohydrates and other inflammatory foods
- Over use and unnecessary use of medications/antibiotics which kill not just the bad bacteria but the good bugs too
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake
- Foods rich in fibre and resistance starch that feed the good bugs and keep them alive such as jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, almonds, onions and green bananas
- Probiotic rich foods such as fermented yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut
- Gelatin rich organic bone broth which reduces inflammation in the digestive tract and keeps the bacteria’s home safe and protected