Many people have turned to artificial sweeteners as a way of avoiding diabetes. Now, new research has turned conventional wisdom on its head with results pointing to these same artificial sweeteners as a potential cause for elevated insulin levels in the body.
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine worked with 17 “severely obese” individuals (BMI 42+), who were not diagnosed with diabetes.
During the first week, participants were split into two groups and were given either a glass of water or a glass of water with dissolved sucralose (a popular artificial sweetener), as well as a small 75 gram glucose snack. Ninety minutes later, their insulin levels were tested and the results written down.
The following week, the test was repeated, but with the drinks switched around. If the participant had consumed the dissolved sucralose the first week, this week they’d have water instead. The snack remained the same in both instances. Again, insulin levels were tested and recorded.
Although a simple study, the results were significant. When the tests were compared, those individuals who consumed the sucralose had insulin concentrations up to 20% higher than those who didn’t. These aggressive sugar rushes could cause insulin insensitivity as the body’s pancreas will compensate by producing more insulin. If the pattern continues, some people could be on the road to diabetes, the study suggests.
“Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert – it does have an effect,” study researcher Dr. M. Yanina Pepino said.
Of course, this is not the first time artificial sweeteners have been put in the spotlight for potential negative health effects. Artificial sweeteners and fructose sugar both harm our health in so many ways. Natural sweeteners like Stevia and Xylitol are the only forms of sweetness that don’t come at a price.