Diabetes has become a serious malaise around the world today. The condition, triggered by inadequate processing of blood sugar in the body, may result in a number of potentially fatal health complications. This is why diabetics or those at risk of diabetes need to be very careful about their daily diet. Additionally, developing healthy eating habits from a young age is key to preventing development of diabetes in adulthood. A new study has suggested that drinking as many as five cans of diet soda or about one and a half litres of diet drinks with artrificial sweeteners in them daily may result in diabetes. The study comes against the backdrop of increase in the consumption of diet drinks and diet sodas, which are sweetened with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.
The study hasn’t been published in a peer reviewed journal yet, but was present at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Berlin in Germany. It was conducted by researchers at University of Adelaide in Australia. The researchers recruited 29 participants for the study, around half of whom were given low calorie sweeteners equivalent to a litre and a half of diet drinks, in the form of capsules. The rest of the participants were given a placebo.
The participants were asked to take these for two weeks and researchers took their stool samples to check the type of micro-organisms in them. It was observed that those who consumed the diet drink capsules had much less amounts of good gut bacteria in their stools. There were also fewer amounts of bacteria that helped breakdown food and instead a rise in ‘opportunistic’ bacteria that cause disease. There was also a drop in bugs that helped control levels of blood glucose. A decrease in bacteria Butyrivibrio corresponded with a decrease in hormone GLP-1 which controls blood glucose levels.
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