Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests
Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.
The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.
Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.
Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.
They presented their findings at the European A