The sweeteners, which many people use as sugar substitutes, may actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The conclusion is from a study at the University of Adelaide in Australia, which sought to understand whether large amounts of sweetener altered the body’s ability of controlling blood glucose levels.
The study is reduced, and detailed results have not yet been published, but experts say this finding goes in the same direction as previous research that established a direct link between sweeteners and weight gain.
Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who participated in this study drank the equivalent of 1.5 liters of unsweetened drinks in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame-K. The volunteers took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, always before meals. The remaining collaborators for the study took placebos.
Tests performed at the end of two weeks revealed that the body’s response to glucose had been impaired. “This study supports the concept that sweeteners can reduce control of blood sugar levels and highlights the possibility of exaggerated glucose values in users of this substitute, which may make them susceptible to type 2 diabetes”, said the researchers. authors, who presented the results at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon.
Ines Cebola of the Imperial College of London, a member of the Endocrinology Society, told The Guardian that “this study is about a very important global health problem, since sweeteners are often used not only by diabetics but also by healthy citizens”.
“But even though they are considered safe and even beneficial, the consumption of sweeteners has previously been related to weight gain and the development of lactose intolerance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes”, Ines Cebola said.
These studies had only been done on animals, and for this very reason, Ines Onion stresses that “even if it is proven in the future that sweeteners are harmful to the general population, this may not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes is the result of an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we still do not fully understand. It is therefore premature to point fingers at sweeteners as isolated risk elements”.