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Friday, 31 May 2013 07:49

Could artificial sweetener CAUSE diabetes?

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artificial-sweetenersSplenda 'modifies way the body handles sugar', increasing insulin production by 20%, reports daily mail.

Splenda can modify how the body handles sugar and could lead to diabetes, according to a new study.
Scientists found that consuming the sugar alternative made of sucralose caused a person's sugar levels to peak at a higher level and in turn increase the amount of insulin a person produced. Researchers said that while they did not fully understand the implications of the findings, they might suggest that Splenda could raise the risk of diabetes.

This is because regularly elevated insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance, which is a known path to type 2 diabetes.

'Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert - it does have an effect,' said Yanina Pepino, research assistant professor of medicine at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, who led the study.

'And we need to do more studies to determine whether this observation means long-term use could be harmful.'

Sucralose is made from sugar, but once processed its chemical make up is very different. Gram for gram it is 600 times sweeter than table sugar.

The scientists analysed the effects of Splenda in 17 severely obese people who did not have diabetes and did not use artificial sweeteners regularly.

Participants had an average body mass index of just over 42. A person is considered obese when their BMI reaches 30. 

Scientists gave subjects either water or dissolved sucralose to drink before they consumed glucose (sugar). 

They wanted to understand whether the combination of sucralose and glucose would affect insulin and blood sugar levels.

Every participant was tested twice. Those who drank water followed by glucose in one visit drank sucralose followed by glucose in the next. In this way, each person served as his or her own control group.

'We wanted to study [overweight people] because these sweeteners frequently are recommended to them as a way to make their diets healthier by limiting calorie intake,' Pepino said.

They found that when study participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar peaked at a higher level than when they drank only water before consuming glucose.

Insulin levels also rose about 20 percent higher. So despite no extra sugar being consumed, the artificial sweetener was related to an enhanced blood insulin and glucose response.

Professor Yanina explained that they do not fully understand the implications that these rises could have.

She said: 'The elevated insulin response could be a good thing because it shows the person is able to make enough insulin to deal with spiking glucose levels. 

'But it also might be bad because when people routinely secrete more insulin, they can become resistant to its effects, a path that leads to type 2 diabetes.'

Read more: 

Artificial Sweeteners: How much is a Good Deal

Read 4665 times Last modified on Friday, 31 May 2013 08:01

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