3 Ways Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners Affect Gut Health

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A jar full of sugar. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can affect your gut health in a negative way.Right now, your gut is swimming with bacteria—good and bad. Maintaining a good balance between the two is key to helping you stay healthy. One of the ways to support that is to give your gut flora supportive food, not detrimental. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can affect your gut health in some not-so-friendly ways. You probably have heard about the artificial sweeteners aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose—three of the biggest offenders—but can also add sugar to that list.

Shocking Facts about Artificial Sweeteners and Your Gut

Here’s a rundown of three problems artificial sweeteners could cause.

1. Fake Sweeteners Cause Glucose Intolerance

One study suggests Splenda, a popular sucralose-based sweetener, can decrease good bacteria levels in the gut. [1] But it’s not just sucralose; other studies suggest all artificial sweeteners can actually influence the microbiota (your gut’s bacteria). This loss of good bacteria can lead to glucose intolerance, something that could lead to diabetes. [2]

2. Artificial Sweeteners Lead to Weight Gain

If you’re using artificial sweeteners and sugar, you might want to know that a recent report suggests fake sweeteners can actually change the way your body processes sugar. Yes, while this could raise blood sugar, leading to a bigger issue like diabetes, weight gain is also an outcome. Because these sweeteners contain no calories, they’re not digested, but they still have to travel through the gut. While there, they “may favor the growth of bacteria that make more calories available to us, calories that can then find their way to our hips, thighs and midriffs.” [3]

3. Sugar Damages Your Gut Flora

Another recent study even suggests sugar can promote the growth of bad bacteria in the gut. [4] This could lead to irritation in the gut, which could even manifest itself as an autoimmune response (allergies and skin conditions are two milder problems). There’s even recent evidence suggesting depression is actually your body’s response to swelling in the gut. [5]

Restoring the Health of Your Gut

While the best thing you can do is cut sugar and artificial sweeteners out of your life altogether, that probably isn’t practical advice for most people. A more achievable goal is to reduce the number of sweets you eat as much as possible and further support your gut health with a quality probiotic.

For comprehensive gut support, consider Global Healing Center’s Gut Health Kit™. This kit features a 30-day supply of our finest supplements for maintaining a healthy gut, including probiotics. Our Gut Health Kit is one of the easiest ways to fully support a healthy gut microbiota and a healthy life.

What do you do to keep a healthy gut? Tell us about it in the comments below.

References (5)
  1. Abou-Donia, M.B. et al. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 71 (21).
  2. Suez, J. et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 514 (7521).
  3. Shell, E. R. Artificial Sweeteners May Change Our Gut Bacteria in Dangerous Ways. Scientific American. 312 (4).
  4. Brown, K. et al. Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Nutrients. 4 (8).
  5. Dantzer, R. et al. From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 9.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Biochemystery

    There is not a shred of anthropological data to suggest that humans are frugivores. On the other hand, there is a mountain of evidence derived from campsite and community excavations to illustrate that humans eat whatever they had access to. Humans with access to fish ate fish. Those that had access to game ate game, etc. To propose anything else is preposterous.


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