How Artificial Sweeteners Wreak Havoc On Your Gut
Millions of Americans trade sugar for artificial sweeteners in a bid to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, continued consumption of artificial sweeteners can actually contribute to a range of digestive health disorders.
Sweeteners are split into distinct categories, natural and artificial. The FDA has approved a list of six artificial sweeteners as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). They are; acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), advantame, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose.
While consuming non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NASs) on occasion won’t cause any harm, regular exposure to them can be very problematic.
Artificial Sweeteners Do Not Pass Through The GI Tract
While most foods consumed by humans pass through the GI tract, NASs are a little different. Artificial sweeteners pass through the body without being digested. It is one of the main reasons many people assume that they have no negative impact on the body.
On the contrary, they can have a detrimental impact on the gut and overall digestive system due to their influence on the levels of healthy bacteria and microbiome. This can create an imbalance that causes a plethora of potential health issues.
Studies on humans have been limited, which is why there is a lack of understanding as to why imbalances occur. Nonetheless, the fact that the imbalance occurs will lead to noticeable digestive health problems.
Problems Caused By Bacterial Imbalances
The resulting imbalance within the gut means that artificial sweeteners can be linked to a wide range of conditions. This includes leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flatulence problems, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Studies into mice have also shown that glycan degradation pathways are increased as a result of NASs, which subsequently increased the threat of metabolic diseases. Microbiome changes impact the way in which the body digests food too, which could lead to constipation, diarrhea, and the other conditions mentioned above.
Other Issues Potentially Caused By Artificial Sweeteners
Interestingly, the idea that artificial sweeteners help against obesity may be false too. Research has been contrasting, but there are some trains of thought that state that it actively increases the person’s Body Mass Index (BMI).
The use of artificial sweeteners additionally increases the resistance to insulin, which can feed into an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Further links have been made to both strokes and dementia. Gut health and digestion will seriously impact your overall wellness, which is why keeping bacterial balance is key.
In short, while reduced sugar intake is beneficial, turning straight to artificial sweeteners may not be the best answer after all.
If you’re interested in healing your gut after years of artificial sugar intact, our GoodGut Program can help. The program is based on the functional medicine approach to gut health and it is designed to rebuild and restore gut health long term!