MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Richard Hodin, MD
Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Surgery
Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Chief of Academic Affairs, Department of Surgery,
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Mass 02114
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Sugar substitutes like Aspartame are widely used and supposed to make people lose weight and have less diabetes, heart disease, etc. However, a number of studies indicate that theses substitutes don’t work very well. The reasons for them not working have not been clear. Our study found that the most common sugar substitute (aspartame) blocks an enzyme in our gut called Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase (IAP). By blocking IAP, Aspartame prevents the beneficial effects of IAP which normally works to prevent obesity, diabetes, and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome.
So, we now have an explanation for why Aspartame may make obesity and the metabolic syndrome worse, rather than better.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Aspartame is probably not very good for you. It blocks an important gut enzyme called IAP and in so doing it makes you more susceptible to obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We are working on ways of enhancing the positive effects of IAP in order to make people more healthy. The impact of different dietary components can be very complex. It is not simply a calorie in – calorie out equation. There can be a number of other effects on gut function, enzymes like IAP, as well as the gut bacteria, all of which may affect the way our diet impacts our overall health.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Sarah Shireen Gul, A. Rebecca L. Hamilton, Alexander R Munoz, Tanit Phupitakphol, Liu Wei, Sanjiv K Hyoju, Konstantinos P Economopoulos, Sara Morrison, Dong Hu, Weifeng Zhang, Mohammad Hadi Gharedaghi, Haizhong Huo, Sulaiman R Hamarneh, Richard A. Hodin. Inhibition of the gut enzyme intestinal alkaline phosphatase may explain how aspartame promotes glucose intolerance and obesity in mice. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2016; DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0346
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