Artificial Sweeteners Toxic to Healthy Gut Bacteria


Today, more people eat foods that contain the so-called friendly gut bacteria known as probiotics. Still, a new study has found that consuming foods containing artificial sweeteners is toxic to the gut microbial system.

Artificial sweeteners toxic to gut microbial system, study finds

Six common artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commonly contained in food and drinks were toxic to the digestive gut microbes in mice. Researchers tested ten sports supplements containing artificial sweeteners and published their study in the US News journal Molecules.

The sweeteners tested were aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k. The researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore found that when they exposed only 1 milligram per milliliter of the artificial sweeteners, it became toxic to the bacteria found in the digestive system.

The researchers said that the gut microbial system “plays a key role in human metabolism,” and artificial sweeteners can “affect host health, such as inducing glucose intolerance.”

Digestive health: Probiotic foods that add gut-friendly bacteria

In general, there are hundreds of species of bacteria in our intestines that each plays a specific role in health. According to Healthline, consuming a wide range of foods is recommended to develop a diverse microbiome. Medical experts say that the traditional Western diet is anything but diverse, typically being rich in fat and sugar. Further, it is estimated that 75% of the world’s food is produced from only five animal species and 12 plant species.

Healthy foods to improve gut health

Here are some recommendations by health professionals on foods you can eat to help develop a stronger microbiome and improve your gut health.

  1. Consume fermented foods

Fermentation breaks down sugars by yeast or bacteria. Some of the following foods contain lactobacilli bacteria, which can benefit your health.

Examples are: yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and Kiefer.

  1. Eat high-fiber foods

Foods high in fiber, what your body can’t digest, certain bacteria in your gut can – and that stimulates their growth.

Examples are lentils, chickpeas, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

Almonds and pistachios have also all been shown to increase Bifidobacteria in humans, considered to prevent intestinal inflammation and enhance gut health.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits

One study found a diet rich in vegetables and fruits prevented the growth of some disease-causing bacteria.

Examples are Raspberries, artichokes, green peas, broccoli, bananas, and apples.