Recently, researchers from the Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben.Gurion University of the Negev, led by Prof. Ariel Kushmero and Dr. Karina Gulberg, examined six FDA.approved artificial sweeteners to provide more information about their effects on the human body. Although the sweeteners do not directly harm bacteria, three out of six significantly impair communication between bacteria, which can lead to damage to the bacterial population in the gut and even digestive problems.
“The fact that bacteria communicate with each other as part of their lifestyle allows us to point out that artificial sweeteners disrupt this communication, which can disrupt the stability of bacterial populations in the gut,” describes lead researcher Dr. Karina Gulberg.
The researchers also tested protein.based supplements that contain sweeteners that athletes consume on a regular basis. Among the substances tested were: aspartame, saccharin, sucrose, potassium acesulfame and neothyme. Aspartame, sucrose and saccharin – were found to significantly inhibit bacterial communication, with at least one in three being found in all the food supplements they tested.
“Accurate registration of artificial sweeteners on products is done in a minor way, a figure that makes it difficult to estimate the amounts of sweeteners contained in each product. Our research should encourage the food industry to re.evaluate the use of artificial sweeteners,” said Prof. Ariel Kushmero Biotechnology at Ben.Gurion University of the Negev.