The study found that ingesting acesulfame-K- and sucralose-sweetened diet soda in addition to carbohydrates, the same way someone might drink a diet coke while eating french fries and a burger for lunch, led to an increase in an insulin-regulating hormone in healthy subjects and those with Type 1 diabetes. It appears that the body is being tricked into beleiving that more insulin is needed when a diet drink is consumed with food.
The study shows that the artificial sweetners effect the microbes in the stomach which can disrupt the bodies ability to regulate blood sugar levels. It is thought that this disruption may be a pre-cursor to metabolic syndromes and type 2 diabetes.
Cathryn R. Nagler, a professor of pathology at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the research but did write an accompanying commentary in Nature, called the results “very compelling.”
She noted that many conditions, including obesity and diabetes, had been linked to changes in the microbiome. “What the study suggests,” she said, “is we should step back and reassess our extensive use of artificial sweeteners.”