Artificial sugars may raise blood sugar

Image: Thinkstock

A report in the Sept. 17, 2014, issue of the journal Nature demonstrates that three common sweeteners—saccharin (found in Sweet'N Low), sucralose (found in Splenda), and aspartame (found in NutraSweet and Equal)—can raise glucose levels, possibly by changing the composition of intestinal bacteria.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel determined people who used a lot of artificial sweeteners tended to have higher blood glucose levels and different intestinal bacteria from those who didn't use them. When they fed the maximum recommended dose of saccharin to seven people who had never used artificial sweeteners, they found that, after five to seven days using the sweetner, four of the people had a significant increase in blood sugar levels—and a significant change in intestinal bacteria.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »