Sweeteners could be behind the rise of diabetes and obesity

A study has suggested that sugar-free sweeteners could increase glucose intolerance and diabetes risk by affecting bacteria in the gut.

It is claimed that far from improving the metabolism and helping people to slim, widespread use of artificial sweeteners may be fuelling the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Tests in mice showed that sweeteners altered the balance of gut microbes that have been linked to susceptibility to metabolic diseases. They also affected the composition and function of gut bacteria in a small number of human volunteers, resulting in glucose intolerance after one week. 

The condition occurs when sugar levels in the blood rise and can lead to Type-2 diabetes, which affects around 2.7 million people in the UK.

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