Both sugar and sugar substitutes have been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes – that is, until now. New research suggests this Sugar substitutes may not play a role in the development of diabetes in healthy adults.
According to a new study published in the journal, Microbiome – led by researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State University’s College of Medicine – says saccharin is one such artificial sweetener that is used in relation to the Diabetes prevention should no longer play a role. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. (Relatives: Some vitamin doctors tell everyone to take it immediately.)
Why do artificial sweeteners have a bad reputation anyway?
Saccharin is one of eight artificial sweeteners currently approved by the FDA, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutritionist and best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal’s Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook.
For example, if you’ve ever sprinkled sweet n ‘low in your cup of coffee, you’ve tried the hyper-sweet substance. However, research is ongoing due to the increased use of calorie-free artificial sweeteners (NCAS) and sugar alcohols, which are used in many keto-friendly and other sugar-free foods and beverages has repeatedly questioned the safety of these alternative sweeteners.
Aside from the fact that many are turned off by the word “artificially” and are inherently skeptical of whether or not they could harm the body, there is science to support these fears.
“A few epidemiological and a handful of intervention studies have shown positive correlations between NCAS consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes and other adverse metabolic outcomes,” said George Kyriazis, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State and Study lead author says Eat This, Not That!
According to Kyriazis, a high-profile study, conducted primarily in mice, showed that NCAS rapidly induced glucose intolerance, causing high blood sugar levels, as indicated by direct and adverse changes in the makeup of certain gut bacteria.
“From a scientific point of view, however, these variable results and ambiguities may reflect differences in the NCAS used, the characteristics of the population studied and the accompanied diet, or other methodological considerations related to these reports,” explains Kyriazis. “So our group has isolated these external variables and Design a study in humans and mice to examine the independent effects of saccharin feeding on gut microbiota and glucose regulation.“”
“In addition, the European Food Safety Authority, the FAO / WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, the US FDA and Food Standards Australia New Zealand and Health Canada consider saccharin and the additional seven low-calorie sweeteners to be safe,” says Amidor.
What did this study find?
The researchers asked 46 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 45 with body mass indexes of 25 (the upper limit for the normal range) to take one of three capsules a day for two weeks. Participants took either the maximum allowable daily amount of saccharin, lactisol (which prevents the tongue from tasting something sweet), saccharin with lactisol, or a placebo.
“We found no effects of saccharin supplementation on glucose regulation and no changes in the participants’ gut microbiota,” says Kyriazis. “It is important to note that the saccharin intake that we used in our study is practically more than twice the average intake of the avid saccharin consumers in the United States“”
In context, the maximum acceptable daily amount of saccharin is 400 milligrams, which is far more than anyone would consume on a regular basis, since the artificial sweetener is significantly sweeter than table sugar.
“Since it’s 200-700 times sweeter than sugar, it only takes a whiff to deliver the same sweetness as sugar,” says Amidor. “This study looked at the maximum amount of saccharin, which is much greater than any person would consume at once.”
Kyriazis adds that it is also important to identify that her findings did not necessarily contradict previous reports showing some deleterious metabolic effects of NCAS intake.
“Together, they highlight that high NCAS consumption can have negative health consequences that are accounted for by other physiological or dietary parameters,” he explains. “As a result, more interventional studies are needed that focus on isolating and identifying the underlying physiological or lifestyle conditions that may make the use of NCAS harmful.”
In short, healthy adults who eat foods or drink beverages sweetened with saccharin from time to time shouldn’t worry about adverse, long-term side effects.
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