A current debate in the field of nutrition concerns sugar and its substitutes. You can boost both your health and your weight loss efforts by cutting back. One technique to accomplish this is to switch to an artificial sweetener in place of sugar. On the other hand, there are many who maintain that artificial sweeteners aren’t as “metabolically inactive” as was once believed. For instance, it has been asserted that they can increase the levels of insulin and blood sugar in the body.
Let’s dive into the debate:
Synthetic compounds called artificial sweeteners can bind to and activate the tongue’s sweet taste bud. Low-calorie sweeteners are those that have no nutrients and are therefore rarely used. Chemicals called artificial sweeteners are used to make foods and drinks taste sweet without adding any calories. Because of this, they are frequently found in foods promoted as “health foods” or weight loss aids. They’re in everything from microwaveable desserts and microwaveable soft drinks to store-bought baked goods and diet sodas. Non-food goods like toothpaste and chewing gum also feature them.
- Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- Aspartame (NutraSweet)
- Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
- Neotame (Newtame)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia)
In the short-term, your blood sugar won’t rise if you use artificial sweeteners. The consumption of a single can of diet coke, for instance, will not result in a spike in blood sugar.
But in 2014, Israeli researchers made waves when they found a relationship between artificial sweeteners and shifts in gut microbes. Chronic administration of artificial sweeteners might led to harmful changes in gut bacteria, which in turn led to elevated blood sugar levels.
Increases in blood sugar were also seen in germ-free mice that had been implanted with germs from the infected mice. Scientists were able to reduce the rise in blood sugar by restoring normal amounts of gut bacteria. Unfortunately, no human trials or replications of these findings exist. Aspartame and shifts in gut bacteria have been linked in only one human observational research. As a result, we don’t know what, if any, long-term impacts artificial sweeteners have on humans.
Although it hasn’t been tested, it’s plausible that artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar levels through having a deleterious effect on gut microbes.
End of Discussion
Artificial sweeteners will not, in the short term, cause an increase in the blood sugar level. On the other hand, nobody really knows what will happen to humanity over the long run.