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Review
. 2015;6(2):149-55.
doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1017700. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Non-caloric Artificial Sweeteners and the Microbiome: Findings and Challenges

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Free PMC article
Review

Non-caloric Artificial Sweeteners and the Microbiome: Findings and Challenges

Jotham Suez et al. Gut Microbes. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are common food supplements consumed by millions worldwide as means of combating weight gain and diabetes, by retaining sweet taste without increasing caloric intake. While they are considered safe, there is increasing controversy regarding their potential ability to promote metabolic derangements in some humans. We recently demonstrated that NAS consumption could induce glucose intolerance in mice and distinct human subsets, by functionally altering the gut microbiome. In this commentary, we discuss these findings in the context of previous and recent works demonstrating the effects of NAS on host health and the microbiome, and the challenges and open questions that need to be addressed in understanding the effects of NAS consumption on human health.

Keywords: Microbiome; artificial sweeteners; diabetes; glucose intolerance.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
NAS-Bacteria interactions. Summarized are studies (referenced in the main text) describing effects of NAS on members of the microbiome or bacteria in culture. ND, no data; NGS, Next-generation sequencing.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Impaired glycemic response in NAS consuming mice. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and area under the 2-hour blood glucose response curve (AUC) in normal-chow-fed mice drinking commercial NAS (N = 20–25) or glucose (N = 15–25) for (A) 8 weeks or (B) 11 weeks. Symbols (OGTT) or horizontal lines (AUC), mean; error bars, s.e.m. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001; Unpaired two-sided Student t-test.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Antibiotics ameliorate saccharin-exacerbated glucose intolerance. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and area under the 2-hour blood glucose response curve (AUC) in high-fat diet-fed mice drinking commercial saccharin (N = 15) or glucose (N = 15) for 9 weeks, with a subset of each group (N = 5) supplemented with ciprofloxacin and metronidazole starting from week 5. Symbols (OGTT) or horizontal lines (AUC), mean; error bars, s.e.m. *, saccharin vs. glucose, and saccharin vs. saccharin-abx; *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001; Unpaired two-sided Student t-test.

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