Artificial sweeteners claimed to increase chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes

It has been claimed by some news outlets that a new study has found that artificial sweeteners raise the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, rather than prevent it by being an alternative to sugar.
The study was carried out at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and looked at how artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame and sucralose effected a group of mice.
It found that high levels of these artificial sweeteners affected the balance of the bacteria that lived in the gut of the mice, bacteria that is important for digestion and extracting important nutrients from the food we eat.
In the rodents, this imbalance hindered their ability to deal with sugar that they ate. This led to glucose intolerance, one of the risk factors and warning signs of the potential development of type 2 diabetes.
The NHS Choices website was quick to point out that the study was limited as it was based around mice. There was a smaller, supporting study that looked at the effects of artificial sweeteners on humans, but this only lasted for 7 days, and so the evidence can’t be considered conclusive.
Artificial sweeteners are most often found in diet soft drinks, replacing sugar in order to be ‘healthier’ and to offer an alternative to those watching their weight, or with blood sugar conditions like diabetes.
Further trials will have to be run before a verdict on whether artificial sweeteners are unhealthy or not. Until then, if you wish to ditch artificially sweetened drinks, make sure that you aren’t cashing them in for high sugar alternatives, which actually have been proven to cause obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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