- AndreaSParticipantSeptember 18, 2014 at 10:46 amPost count: 52
Suez J et al: Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature (2014) doi:10.1038/nature13793
I’ve always been worried about artificial sweeteners. Since reading about FTD even more so. However, I thought that saccharin was relatively OK. That’s being questioned, to say the least.
Does anybody have access to the full article?Norm RobillardKeymasterSeptember 18, 2014 at 5:12 pmPost count: 445
Interesting article. Thanks for the link Andrea. Identifying alternatives to sugar is no easy task! But given the problems with sucrose and fructose, it’s worth it IMO. Having said that, anything chemically synthesized deserves caution and a thorough and ongoing evaluation. Of course, even natural alternative sweeteners (stevia and erythritol, for example) need to be carefully evaluated as well. As any wild mushroom hunter knows, there are some pretty deadly toxins in nature.
Though the authors reported a blunting of glucose tolerance with saccharin, sucralose and aspartame, paper is really about saccharin. I am reading the paper now but have written one of the authors for the extended methods and data.
I don’t know much about how microbes interact or not, with saccharin or aspartame, early studies reported that a wide variety of bacteria tested did not metabolize sucralose. One thing the paper did not address was how bacteria are interacting with these sweeteners.
I could understand an effect on glucose tolerance if for instance, bacterial production of propionate was affected as this particular end product is a source of blood sugar via the liver with gluconeogenisis. I am also interested in the control treatments (how much sugar was used, etc) and how the glucose tolerance test was performed – how much sugar, etc.
As always, I am keeping an open mind to new science while scrutinizing the methods and interpretation of the results.AndreaSParticipantSeptember 18, 2014 at 7:51 pmPost count: 52
Norm, thanks a lot for these insights!
One thing that just popped into my mind is that there are good reasons to keep the complexity low of whatever we are analyzing. So, in the case of us FTD folks, if we want to understand what food affects us in which way, it makes sense to reduce the variety to a (still) healthy minimum. Saccharin is not essential. In my opinion, we do ourselves a favor if we keep it out of the equation. At least at the beginning. One can always add it later on and see how symptoms change.
Of course, I know it’s not easy. Sweeteners are tempting in the low carb domain. And indeed, I never had problems with stevia.Norm RobillardKeymasterSeptember 18, 2014 at 8:05 pmPost count: 445
I agree. I never use saccharin (don’t like the taste either) or aspartame – except for a small amount of diet Coke here and there. But I do use Stevia and Splenda for occasional sweets. I do think about the fact that Splenda is not a natural product, so I watch the literature and use moderation for now.
The sweetener I am interested in lately is erythritol. I want to try some recipes with this and see how it goes.AndreaSParticipantSeptember 18, 2014 at 8:42 pmPost count: 52
Erythritol, really? Even though it is a sugar alcohol!?Norm RobillardKeymasterSeptember 18, 2014 at 9:24 pmPost count: 445
Yes, it is the one gut friendly exception. All the Fast Tract books have been updated to contain lots of information on erythritol. Here’s some similar info from the sweetener article on this site.
One sugar alcohol, erythritol, has some unique properties which makes it a good choice as an alternative sweetener (it’s not an artificial sweetener since it’s produced by yeast). Unlike the other sugar alcohols, erythritol is mostly (90%) absorbed in the small intestine. Even the 10% that remains in the intestine may not be a problem as at least one study showed gut bacteria may not be able to metabolize it[iv]. It’s also not metabolized much by the body as most of it can be recovered in urine[v]. Safety studies in animals and humans suggest that erythritol is very safe as well[vi]. Thanks to Lauren Benning for writing to me about the benefits or erythritol and Kris Gunnars for his excellent article on erythritol.
[iv]Arrigoni E, Brouns F, Amadò R. Human gut microbiota does not ferment erythritol. Br J Nutr. 2005 Nov;94(5):643-6.
[v]Hiele M, Ghoos Y, Rutgeerts P, Vantrappen G. Metabolism of erythritol in humans: comparison with glucose and lactitol. Br J Nutr. 1993 Jan;69(1):169-76.
[vi]Munro IC, Berndt WO, Borzelleca JF, Flamm G, Lynch BS, Kennepohl E, Bär EA, Modderman J. Erythritol: an interpretive summary of biochemical, metabolic, toxicological and clinical data. Food Chem Toxicol. 1998 Dec;36(12):1139-74.AndreaSParticipantSeptember 19, 2014 at 7:56 amPost count: 52
Very interesting! Thanks for pointing this out!AkaveryParticipantSeptember 25, 2014 at 8:34 pmPost count: 9
Do you happen to know how safe dextrose or glucose syrup is? Using either of these do we run the risk of high blood sugar? Of course everything in moderation, but just trying to decide what might be safer. Splenda worries me, but so do they all. I’ve currently been using mostly Honey if I sweeten anything and I’ve always used sugar in the raw to bake with so this will be quite a step! I’m so used to going raw and natural whenever possible, so I just want to make sure I get the closest thing to natural as I can. Do you think that erythritol would be the thing to go with then or non-gmo dextrose powder? Thanks!Norm RobillardKeymasterOctober 20, 2014 at 1:19 pmPost count: 445
Good question about dextrose/glucose. While it’s gut friendly, it’s pure sugar in it’s most basic form and will induce a rapid increase in blood glucose. This is the main reason I limited overall carb counts to about 75 grams per day in the Fast Tract Recipes (compared to about 300 grams per day in the standard American diet). People with diabetes or other blood sugar related metabolic conditions may want to consider reducing overall carbs even more. In terms of controlling blood sugar spikes, erythritol, stevia or other non caloric sugar substitutes are the better choice. Of course, I understand many people are worried about artificial sweeteners. In these cases erythritol and stevia are still good choices.
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