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article imageNew health concern over zero-calorie sweeteners

By Tim Sandle     Jul 1, 2019 in Health
A new investigation is to be held into zero-calories sweeteners. The research will consider whether exposure to sucralose and acesulfame-K in the womb and via breastmilk results in altered intestinal flora and liver toxicity.
While artificial sweeteners play a role in reducing weight gain and help to prevent tooth decay, there are concerns about the longer-term health effects of sweeteners in drinks as part of a regular diet.
The study will look at two of the seven non-nutritive sweeteners that have global approval. The research, for ethical reasons, will be conducted using rodents, with the mouse model using pips. The first to be studied is sucralose, which is manufactured by chlorinating sucrose. Sucralose a stable compound (one commercial name is Splenda) and it is about 320 to 1,000 times sweeter than sucrose.
The second compound is acesulfame potassium (or acesulfame-K), marketed as Sunett or Sweet One. Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sucrose. As well as a food additive, the chemical is also used as a marker to estimate to what degree swimming pools are contaminated by urine.
Wit the study U.S. National Institutes of Health scientists exposed pregnant and lactating mice to both sweeteners, at levels equivalent to those found in soda, sports supplements and other sweetened products. The research showed that the pups of the exposed mice developed harmful metabolic (medically - down regulation of hepatic detoxification mechanisms) and gut bacteria changes.
The research adds to other studies that indicates that artificial sweeteners relatively safe in moderation, when used by adults, but they do carry some health risks. What was of interest with the new study was the extent that the sweeteners can be passed on in small amounts via the placenta and breast milk, and then as to what effect this had on developing offspring. The experimental data confirmed that both sweeteners can be transmitted prenatally.
According to lead researcher Dr. John Hanover: “Non-nutritive sweeteners are generally believed to be safe when used in moderation. However, sweetness itself seems to some extent mimic the effects of sugar – triggering insulin secretion, inflammation and changes to the gut microbiome – which promote fat storage and type 2 diabetes.”
Further research will be undertaken and from this new guidelines may emerge for pregnant women and the intake of sweeteners. Current recommendations for artificial sweetener use during pregnancy state that they may be used in moderation – except for saccharin, which is recommended not be taken.
The research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, with the study titled: “Maternal Exposure to Non-nutritive Sweeteners Impacts Progeny’s Metabolism and Microbiome.”
More about sweetners, zerocalorie, Soft drinks, Diet Soda
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