Warwick Daily News - - WEEKEND - – The Sun

If you’ve switched to Diet Coke in a bid to cut down on sugar, you might want to re-eval­u­ate just how healthy your choices are. Sci­en­tists now claim that sweet­en­ers found in Diet Coke and other soft drinks could dam­age your gut bac­te­ria.

Ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tists from uni­ver­si­ties in Is­rael and Sin­ga­pore, six com­mon ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers – as­par­tame, su­cralose, sac­cha­rin, neo­tame, ad­van­tame and ace­sul­fame potas­sium (Ace K) – have all been found to be toxic to gut bac­te­ria.

More and more stud­ies are re­al­is­ing the im­por­tance of gut bac­te­ria to a per­son’s over­all health – with bad bac­te­ria linked to a range of dis­eases from obe­sity to bowel dis­eases, even Alzheimer’s.

The study, pub­lished in Mol­e­cules, looked at the rel­a­tive tox­i­c­ity of the sweet­en­ers and 10 sports sup­ple­ments con­tain­ing them.

It found the bac­te­ria in the di­ges­tive sys­tem be­came toxic when ex­posed to tiny con­cen­tra­tions of the sweet­en­ers.

In a lab trial, the sweet­en­ers were each ex­posed to bac­te­ria that are com­monly found in the gut.

These bac­te­ria were ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied to con­tain flu­o­res­cent com­pounds that glowed when they de­tected tox­ins.

The sci­en­tists found tox­ins were re­leased when gut bac­te­ria were ex­posed to each ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­ener, and it only took one mg/ml of the ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers to turn the bac­te­ria toxic.

A can of Diet Coke con­tains about 180mg of as­par­tame. And that’s led sci­en­tists to con­clude : “This is fur­ther ev­i­dence that con­sump­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers ad­versely af­fects gut mi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity which can cause a wide range of health is­sues”.

Good gut health re­lies on a healthy gut mi­cro­biome, which has been associated with ev­ery­thing from di­ges­tion and nu­tri­ent ab­sorp­tion to im­mune sys­tem func­tion.

It’s not just sugar-free drinks that con­tain these chem­i­cals, ei­ther.

Ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers are used in loads of food prod­ucts and drinks that boast re­duced sugar con­tent – and the study warns that many of us con­sume them with­out even re­al­is­ing.

It’s not just our im­me­di­ate health that is po­ten­tially at risk, ei­ther.

These sweet chem­i­cals have also been iden­ti­fied as en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants that are in­creas­ingly be­ing found in drink­ing and sur­face wa­ter.

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