Diet Soda isn’t safe to drink for Diabetics

diet coke

When artificial sweeteners dot first introduce to the market, most if the diabetics thought that they would be safe if they would drink this since it won’t contribute to their disease.  But, according to some study, including a new one from this week at the annual Experimental Biology conference— indicate that sweeteners could actually contribute to health problems like type 2 diabetes.

According to Wikipedia, Artificial Sweeteners are sugar substitute that is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are produced by nature, and others produced synthetically.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University used rats vulnerable to developing diabetes for their experiments. For three weeks, different groups were fed high doses of two sugars, glucose and fructose, and two common artificial sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame potassium. They then studied the rats’ blood using a large-scale technique that tracks minute metabolic changes, known as metabolomics.

“Just after three weeks of giving these sweeteners and sugars to our diabetes-susceptible rats, we saw biochemical changes in the blood that could potentially lead to alterations in fat and energy metabolism,” lead author Brian Hoffman, a biomedical engineer at both institutions, told Gizmodo.

Diabetes is a condition wherein the body is unable to maintain the produce insulin or in the case of type 1 diabetes can’t produce an insulin at all. This breakdown causes people to either stop responding to insulin as easily as they once did, or to stop producing insulin altogether. Excessive sugar in our diets is thought to help cause diabetes by overtaxing the body’s insulin-producing machinery, since it’s used to bring high blood glucose levels back to normal.

Companies that makes artificial sweeteners have long been advertising their products as diabetes friendly since lots of diabetics would want something that they could use on their drink and be safe at the same time. But rates of diabetes and obesity have continued to skyrocket regardless, even as sweetener-rich foods and drinks became widely available starting in the 1950s. (There are currently six FDA-approved artificial sweeteners.)

As a result, Hoffman and his team have not only tried to understand how sugar sparks the chain of events that leads to diabetes, but also tried to find out whether sweeteners could do the same.

Hoffman noted that sweeteners can still raise our blood sugar, so don’t drink what you want.  They just do it differently form sugar. “Sweeteners kinda trick the body. And then when your body’s not getting the energy it needs—because it does need some sugar to function properly—it potentially finds that source elsewhere,” Hoffman said.

In the rats’ blood, his team found evidence of protein breakdown, likely meaning their bodies turned to burning away muscle as a source of energy. They also found higher levels of lipids and other fats, which over time could contribute to obesity and diabetes. Other research has suggested sweeteners alter the community of bacteria that call our guts home—the microbiome—in a way that could lead to harmful metabolic changes. And still more research has shown that diets high in artificial sweeteners are associated with a greater risk of diabetes and obesity.

Hoffman is well aware of past efforts to tie sweeteners to dire health risks, but he says things are different in this case.

“Most of these sweeteners were approved well before we had the technology to perform studies like my lab is doing. So they weren’t able to look as in-depth at some of the potential effects being caused,” he said. “By knowing what biochemical changes these are causing through these large-scale studies, we can take a unbiased approach and see what’s changing to give us a better direction.”

Hoffman and his team are planning to submit their finding to several peer-reviewed journals for considerations, but they’re already in the middle of studying their sweetener-fed rats for longer periods of time. Future studies are likely to involve taking a peek at the rats’ microbiomes too. Ultimately, he believes their study method could be relatively easy to use with people, since all that would be needed is a blood sample to study small metabolic changes.

Hoffman believes that if a person wants to drink a soda then he should have one he should drink it, just don’t overdo it and drink as much of it like three to four of these drinks daily.

Source: Gizmodo, Wikipedia