A new study has revealed that the low-calorie sugar alternatives could have a negative effect on the human gut health. Such alternatives were earlier thought to be harmless. The substances that were tested in the study included sucralose, saccharin, aspartame and stevia. It was found that these substances changed the gut microbe that helps the human body against diseases and enables to digest food.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the Chief Medical Correspondent at ABC News while talking on Good Morning America, described about the findings of the study and said that it is more than just the number of calories in the ingredients in question. The study was published in the month of August in the medical journal known as Cell and included 120 healthy adults who were given different low-calorie sugar alternatives. They were given at levels that were lower than the acceptable everyday intake.
The participants of the study did not eat low-calorie sugar alternatives as a part of their diet before the study. They kept a record of their food and physical activity with the help of a smartphone app and the researchers had taken microbe samples from the gut and mouth. Ashton revealed that some blood tests were also undertaken and took indicators of gut microbe. It was found that saccherine and sucralose in particular increased the blood glucose levels or blood sugar while stevia increased the insulin level. The researchers noted that the earlier research shown that sugar consumption was strongly associated with weight gain. It has been a common tendency of people to replace sugar in diet with low-calorie sugar alternatives to deal with obesity and hyperglycemia.
Ashton has recommended people who are currently on sugar substitutes should minimize their use. She also said that they need to conduct more research to conclusively know about its impact on the health. The current study has indicated an impact on the metabolic health. Ashton added that weaning off from such substitutes could take time but it is possible to give it up completely.
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