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The not-so-sweet effects of sugar substitutes

The bottom line is, these sweeteners aren’t harmless, according to one gastroenterologist.

TAMPA, Fla. — Lots of people turn to sugar substitutes to help battle ailments like hyperglycemia and obesity, but experts say some of the options aren’t too sweet on your gut health and can actually do damage. 

A study on artificial sweeteners shows options like aspartame, saccharin and sucralose increase a user’s blood sugar level, while stevia increases insulin.

Dr. Renee Marchioni Beery, gastroenterologist with Gastro MD explains that artificial options can change the gut microbiome.

She says the bottom line is, these sweeteners, aren’t harmless. “It changes the gut bacteria, and so the gut bacteria interact with the lining of the GI tract, and can make it more susceptible to the development of chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or obesity,” she explains.

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Dr. Marchioni Beery suggests people minimize the use of these sugar substitutes and ultimately wean themselves off the artificial sweeteners, altogether. The good news is, that she says their effects on the gut are quickly reversible, once they’re removed from a person’s diet.

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