Regular Use of Artificial Sweeteners May Worsen Blood Glucose Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Richard L. Young PhD Associate Professor Adelaide Medical School The University of Adelaide Group Leader, Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group Centre for Nutrition & Gastrointestinal Diseases South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute North Terrace, Adelaide | SA 

Dr. Young

Dr. Richard L. Young PhD
Associate Professor Adelaide Medical School
The University of Adelaide
Group Leader, Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group
Centre for Nutrition & Gastrointestinal Diseases
South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute
North Terrace, Adelaide | SA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was a clinical trial in healthy subjects dosed a sweetener combination (sucralose and acesulfame-K) at a  dose to equal 1.5 L of artificial sweetened drink per day. This was given in capsules to dissolve in the proximal intestine (3 capsules per day, 2 weeks) and was a randomised, placebo-controlled double-blind study.

Sweetener treatment increased glucose absorption (assessed by serum 3-O-methy glucose), increased glycemic responses to duodenal glucose infusion and decreased GLP-1 responses.

These data show that intake of these sweeteners in healthy subjects may increase glycemic responses, and are the first to document an effect of these sweeteners to increase glucose absorption in humans.

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Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For Your Waistline and Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; co-Lead, Population Health Pillar, Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing.  Emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

Only 7 of these studies were randomized clinical trials (the gold standard in clinical research), involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

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Aspartame May Promote Obesity By Changing Gut Enzyme

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

Dr. Richard Hodin

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.

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Some Natural Sweeteners and Fiber Can Mute Glycemic Response To High Carbohydrate Foods

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Margaret A. Brennan
Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences
Lincoln University
Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There has been immense consumer attention recently in terms of the reduction of sugar levels in food products. Most of this attention has stemmed from a nutritional understanding that foods high in sugar and easily digested carbohydrates can increase blood glucose levels and hence potentially lead to weight gain, obesity issues, metabolic diseases (diabetes related illnesses) and even Alzheimer’s disease due to up regulation of genes responsible for amyloid like complexation.

Our research over the last 10-15 years has tried to investigate the relationship between food composition – food structure / processing – human nutrition. We have developed a deep understanding of how we can regulate the potential glycaemic index of foods by selective use of non-starch polysaccharides, natural sweeteners and texturizing agents to manipulate the rate of starch and carbohydrate digestion.

This study clearly illustrates the great potential of the use of certain natural sweeteners in producing reduced sugar consumer products which have the benefit of reducing glycaemic response in individuals. The utilisation of plant based ingredients to manipulate such a a response offers not only the industry but consumers a powerful opportunity to regulate glycaemia and hence associated metabolic orders.

The study also illustrates that sugar is important in modern foods in providing the structure and hence textural characteristics we have grown accustomed to as consumers. Again careful selection of ingredients can minimise any potential negative effects on food structure and texture that sugar reduction may have.

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Artificial Sugar Aspartamine Linked to Worse Glucose Metabolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD Associate Professor York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Jennifer Kuk

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD
Associate Professor
York University
School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Toronto, Ontario

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kuk: Artificial sweeteners are used to help individuals manage their weight, however, individuals who consume aspartame (a type of artificial sweeteners) have worse glucose metabolism than individuals with the same body weight but do not consume aspartame. This observation was only true for adults with obesity. Further, saccharin and natural sugars were not associated with differences in health after considering differences in obesity.

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Artificial Sweeteners During Pregnancy Linked to Childhood Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Meghan Azad PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences University of Manitoba Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Stud

Dr. Meghan Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences
University of Manitoba
Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Azad: It is well known that maternal nutrition plays a key role in “programming” fetal development and infant weight gain, but the impact of artificial sweetener consumption during this critical period has not been extensively studied.  Some animal research suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners during pregnancy can predispose offspring to develop obesity, but this has never been studied in humans, until now.

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Ocular-Motor System Vulnerable to Cumulative Sub-Concussion Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. T. Dianne Langford PhD Associate Professor, Neuroscience and Neurovirology Lewis Katz School of Medicine Temple University

Dr. T. Dianne Langford

Dr. T. Dianne Langford PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience and Neurovirology
Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Temple University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Langford: The ocular-motor system has been shown to reflect neural damage, and one of ocular-motor functions, near point of convergence (NPC), was reported to worsen after a sport-related concussion (Mucha et al. Am J Sport Med). But the effects of subconcussive head impact, a milder form of head injury in the absence of outward symptoms remains unknown.  Prior to this study, we found that in a controlled soccer heading experimental paradigm decreased NPC function, and even 24h after the headings, NPC was not normalized back to baseline (Kawata et al. 2016 Int J Sport Med). To extend our findings from the human laboratory study, we launched longitudinal clinical studies in collaboration with the Temple football team, to see if repetitive exposure to subconcussive head impacts negatively affects NPC.

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Replacing Sugary Drinks With Plain Coffee Or Tea May Reduce Diabetes Risk

Dr Nita Forouhi, MRCP, PhD, FFPHM MRC Programme Leader and Consultant Public Health Physician MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine Cambridge Biomedical Campus Cambridge UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nita Forouhi, MRCP, PhD, FFPHM
MRC Programme Leader and Consultant Public Health Physician
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Cambridge UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Forouhi: Consumption of soft drinks is known to cause obesity and may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. We had previously published findings from the EPIC-InterAct study in 8 European countries that habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and we now wanted to probe deeper to understand more about this relationship between sweet beverages and diabetes.

We conducted research in the large EPIC-Norfolk study which included more than 25,000 men and women aged 40–79 years living in Norfolk, UK. Study participants recorded everything that they ate and drank for 7 consecutive days covering weekdays and weekend days, with particular attention to type, amount and frequency of consumption, and whether sugar was added by the participants. During approximately 11 years of follow-up, 847 study participants were diagnosed with new-onset type 2 diabetes.

By using this detailed information on diet, we were able to study several different types of sugary beverages, including sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sweetened tea or coffee and sweetened milk drinks as well as artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) – such as diet soft drinks – and fruit juice, and to examine what would happen if plain water, unsweetened tea or coffee or artificially sweetened beverages were substituted for sugary drinks.

Our study provided three main findings:

First, there was an approximately 22% increased relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes per extra serving per day habitually of each of soft drinks, sweetened milk beverages and ASB consumed, even after accounting for a range of important factors including other lifestyle and social factors and for total energy intake. However, after further accounting for body mass index and waist girth as markers of obesity, there remained a higher risk of diabetes associated with consumption of both soft drinks and sweetened milk drinks, but the link with ASB consumption no longer remained, possibly because artificially sweetened beverages was likely to be consumed by those who were already overweight or obese.

Second, when we estimated the likely effects of replacing a habitual serving of soft drinks with a serving of water or unsweetened tea or coffee, we found that the risk of diabetes could have been cut by 14%; and by replacing a habitual serving of sweetened milk beverage with water or unsweetened tea or coffee, that reduction could have been 20%–25%.  However, consuming ASB instead of any sugar-sweetened drink was not likely to reduce the risk of diabetes, when accounting for baseline obesity and total energy intake.

Third, we found that each 5% of higher intake of energy (as a proportion of total daily energy intake) from total sweet beverages (soft drinks, sweetened tea or coffee, sweetened milk beverages, fruit juice) was associated with a 18% higher risk of diabetes. We estimated that if study participants had reduced the energy they obtained from sweet beverages to below 10%, 5% or 2% of total daily energy, 3%, 7% or 15% respectively of new-onset type 2 diabetes cases could have been potentially avoided.

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Diet Sodas: Adverse Effects of Altered Metabolism, Weight Gain

Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience Department of Psychological Sciences and Ingestive Behavior Research Center Purdue University, 703 Third Street West Lafayette, IN 47907, USAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susan E. Swithers PhD
Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience
Department of Psychological Sciences and Ingestive Behavior Research Center
Purdue University, 703 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Swithers: The paper examined the last 5 years of studies that looked at risks associated with consuming artificially sweetened beverages like diet soda. These studies indicated that those who consume diet soda were at significantly greater risk for a variety of negative health outcomes like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, along with being more likely to gain excess weight. These effects might be due to a disruption of basic learned response.  The idea is that normally things when things that taste sweet are consumed, the body receives calories and sugar. Our bodies can learn to prepare to deal with these calories and this sugar by starting up our digestive processes as soon as the sweet taste hits our mouth, for example by releasing hormones that not only help us regulate blood sugar, but also can contribute to feelings of fullness. When we consume diet sodas, the mouth gets the sweet taste, but the body doesn’t get the calories or the sugar. The body may then learn that a sweet taste in the mouth doesn’t always predict sugar and calories, so it makes adjustments in how many hormones it releases. So when we actually consume real sugar, the body doesn’t produce the same kinds of physiological responses, which can lead to overeating, higher blood sugar, and over the long term could contribute to diseases like diabetes and stroke.

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