|It was about time for an artificial sweetener update, wasn't it?|
Whether and to which extent these beneficial effects on gut health are mediated by changes in the gut microbiome is yet still uncertain; and since "uncertain" is a word scientists don't like, Kristian Daily and his colleagues from the University of Liverpool conducted a study to find out, whether the non-negligible health benefits would be brought about by AI <> gut interactions.
To this ends, the scientists employed a DNA-based pyrosequencing technology to investigate the changes in the intestinal microbiota of piglets weaned to a diet supplemented with either a natural sugar, lactose or said artificial sweetener (SUCRAM)
|Figure 1: Total and lactobacillus OTU4228 concentrations in piglets on hydrolzysate carbohydrate diet without sweeteners, with lactose or SUCRAM diets and corresponding concentration of lactic acid in the caecal contents (Daly. 2014)|
But that's obviously not all that's news-worthy!
I did after all promise you news on products you may be using, as well - aspartame and acesulfame-k, to be precise. Now, while the former is a constant target of public (mostly broscientific) criticism, the latter has been a thorn in my side ever since I have started investigating artificial sweeteners.
|Lean more about the "Gut Type Diet" - No Fad, Guaranteed!|
Ok, the results have been derived in a Caenorhabditis elegans, a "worm", but one that has long and actually surprisingly successfully been used as a "model for studying the basic biology of obesity" (Jones. 2009) - I know, I am not convinced either, but if the results do actually translate to humans, this would be major (bad) news for the food industry.
In view of the fact that most companies have been pulling acesulfame-k from their products over the past years, anyway, I would not discard the findings Jolene Zheng et al. present in their latest paper in Chemico-Biological Interactions as meaningless, not despite, but rather because a scientists from PepsiCo was part of the research team which observed these significant increases in intestinal fat (=visceral fat of the worm) when the critters were fed with acesulfam-k sweetened coke.
- Payne, A. N., C. Chassard, and C. Lacroix. "Gut microbial adaptation to dietary consumption of fructose, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols: implications for host–microbe interactions contributing to obesity." Obesity Reviews 13.9 (2012): 799-809.
- Pierce, K. M., et al. "The effect of lactose and inulin on intestinal morphology, selected microbial populations and volatile fatty acid concentrations in the gastro-intestinal tract of the weanling pig." ANIMAL SCIENCE-GLASGOW THEN PENICUIK- 82.3 (2006): 311.
- Jones, Kevin T., and Kaveh Ashrafi. "Caenorhabditis elegans as an emerging model for studying the basic biology of obesity." Disease models & mechanisms 2.5-6 (2009): 224-229.
- Vente-Spreeuwenberg, M. A. M., et al. "Effect of dietary protein source on feed intake and small intestinal morphology in newly weaned piglets." Livestock Production Science 86.1 (2004): 169-177.