Artificial sweeteners are exactly what their name infers. They’re chemically created, zero calorie versions of sugar. They can also be referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners — another very telling term. There is no nutritional value involved in artificial sweeteners. So what’s so bad about a substance that contains absolutely no calories that provides no nutritional value?
To begin with, artificial sweeteners have recently been linked with weight gain. Kind of counterintuitive, isn’t it? The very substance that’s supposed to help people with weight loss and weight control may not actually do what it’s intended to. That certainly hasn’t stopped anyone from opting for diet beverages and foods containing any number of different artificial sweeteners. Now there is more news that presents another problem with one of the more popular sweeteners consumers are using.
One of the active ingredients in a popular artificial sweetener could have the potential to limit the impact of therapeutic drugs, reduce the number and balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut and alter hormone secretion, according to an article published in Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues.
Authored by Susan Schiffman and her colleagues, the article details an experiment involving a popular artificial sweetener, which is comprised of the high-potency sucralose (1.1%) and the fillers maltodextrin and glucose.
The study involved an experiment using Sprague-Dawley rats that were administered the artificial sweetener over a 12-week period. Following a bacterial analysis of the rats’ fecal samples and measurement of fecal pH, the article concluded that artificial sweetener resulted in various adverse effects in the rats, including:
-Reduction in beneficial fecal microflora
-Increased fecal pH
-Enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4,and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs
“At concentrations typically used in foods and drinks, sucralose suppresses beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract with less effect on pathogenic bacteria,” article co-author Susan Schiffman, Ph.D said. “Most consumers are unaware of these effects because no warning label appears on products containing sucralose.” Schiffman also said went onto saythat the change in balance of gastrointestinal bacteria has been associated with weight gain and obesity. At elevated levels, sucralose also damages DNA. These biological effects occur at the levels of sucralose currently approved by regulatory agencies for use in the food supply.
That’s not very good news for sucralose fans. While the effects observed in this report are accounted for in earlier materials, those earlier accounts claim that these effects can only be seen with the consumption of sucralose at higher levels than currently approved in products in our food supply. When you consider how sucralose is manufactured, the news may not be very surprising. Sucralose is produced by the “selective chlorination” of table sugar. One of the synonyms for chlorinate is bleach. Doesn’t sound like a process that should be used in the production of anything edible.
FoodFacts.com makes it appoint to avoid all artificial sweeteners, simply because they are just that. Artificial. Any product we consume should be actual food and not something created in a lab.