Zero-Calorie Sweeteners During Pregnancy Can Impact Offspring’s Microbiome

Dr. Hanover

Dr. Hanover

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John A. Hanover, Ph.D

Chief: Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology
Section Chief: 
Cell Biochemistry Section, Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology
Director: Genomics Core, Cores and Support Services
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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

Response: We are interested in the impact of early nutrition on metabolic reprogramming in mammals.  In particular, we are interested in how the nutritional information may be transferred from mother to offspring. 

 To this end, we have exposed mice to high sugar and high fat diets.  One arm of these studies was to examine the effects of exposure of pregnant mice to artificial sweeteners and the subsequent changes in her offspring.  This has not been examined and was important control for the studies outlined above.

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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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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