A new study presented at the annual Experimental Biology Conference showed an indication that sweeteners may contribute to health problems like Type 2 diabetes. Over the course of three weeks, researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University used rats vulnerable to developing diabetes to test this hypothesis.
Different test groups were fed high doses of glucose and fructose (sugars) and aspartame and acesulfame potassium (artificial sweeteners). At the end of the testing period, they studied the rats’ blood using a technique known as metabolomics to tracks minute metabolic change. They discovered that there were biochemical changes in the blood of these diabetes-susceptible rats that could potentially lead to changes in their fat and energy metabolism, Gizmodo reports.
When our bodies become unable to maintain proper glucose levels, that’s when diabetes occurs.
This causes the body to stop responding to insulin or stop producing insulin altogether. Too much sugar in our diet heightens the chances of diabetes because it pushes our system to produce more insulin, so artificial sweeteners were introduced and advertised as an alternative to avoid this from happening.
However, our bodies need some sugar to function properly, so when we regularly digest fake sugar, our bodies look for a source elsewhere. The blood of the test rats showed traces of protein breakdown, which means that their bodies tried to burn away muscle to gain a source of energy. There were also higher levels of lipids and other fats, which contributes to obesity and diabetes over time.
Other research suggests that sweeteners alter our microbiome, a community of bacteria living in our guts — this also damages our metabolism. Diets high in artificial sweeteners have also been found to be closely related to diabetes and obesity. In conclusion, as long as we take our soda and diet soda in moderation, then we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.