(New Scientist) Artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance in mice, and perhaps in humans, by altering gut bacteria, a series of experiments suggests. Although artificial sweeteners – among the world's most widely used food additives – are approved by most food regulation agencies as safe for humans, the researchers who led the work suggest that their use should be reassessed.
"The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent," says Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who co-supervised the work with his colleague Eran Segal.
Industry bodies are adamant that this is not the case. "Decades of clinical research shows that low-calorie sweeteners have been found to aid weight-control when part of an overall healthy diet, and assist with diabetes management," says Gavin Partington of the British Soft Drinks Association.
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