Alternative Sweeteners in the Bowel
Artificial sweeteners are not metabolized in the human body to any significant degree. They pass through the stomach and small intestine, and stay in the colon until expelled with stools. While in the colon, they alter the bowel flora, especially belonging to three types:
the Deltaproteobacteria class,
and the Actinobacteria phylum.
The altered gut microbiota negatively impact the energy economy of the body. This was reported in the October 9, 2014 issue of the science journal Nature. The section from this article is included below for professional readers.
The artificial sweetener-obesity link established in the above-cited example adds to the earlier studies which showed increase in Fermicute species in the bowel leads to metabolic syndromes Turnbaugh, P. J. et al) cited below.
* Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 514, 181–186 (09 October 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13793
* Turnbaugh, P. J. et al. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature 444, 1027–1031 (2006)
Abstract of Suez’ Paper.
• Chronic Artificial sweeteners consumption exacerbates glucose intolerance
• Gut microbiota mediates Artificial sweeteners-induced glucose intolerance
• Artificial sweeteners mediate distinct functional alterations to the microbiota
• Artificial sweeteners directly modulate the microbiota to induce glucose intolerance
• Artificial sweeteners in humans associate with impaired glucose tolerance
381 non-diabetic individuals (44% males and 56% females; age 43.3 ± 13.2) in an ongoing clinical nutritional study.
We found significant positive correlations between Artificial sweeteners consumption and several metabolic-syndrome-related clinical parameters including increased weight and waist-to-hip ratio (measures of central obesity); higher fasting blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C%) and glucose tolerance test (GTT, measures of impaired glucose tolerance), and elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT, measure of hepatic damage that is likely to be secondary, in this context, to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
Moreover, the levels of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C%), indicative of glucose concentration over the previous 3 months, were significantly increased when comparing a subgroup of high Artificial sweeteners consumers (40 individuals) to non-NAS consumers.
The more sweet foods we consume, the more we want them. This is the way evolution designed the function of sweetness taste buds in the moot—when ready-energy foods (fruits and sweet vegetables) were available, the body want to take in more for storage for later use. For individuals with obesity and Diabetes, the ideal way is a no-sweet way. For diabetics, at this time I can recommend only Stevia. For them and others, when something sweet has to be taken, I suggest blueberries that may be taken with cottage cheese or one-half of a green apple or a pear. On uncommon occasions, small quantities of natural sweeteners; raw honey and dates may be used for uncooked foods. For cooked dishes, natural syrups (maple, rice, and others) and fruit juices (apple, cranberry, and others) may be consumed.
Why I Do Not Recommend Agave and Other Fructose Foods
Agave nectar is heavily promoted as an “all natural” and “healthy” sweetener that is especially desirable for people with excess insulin (hyperinsulnism) and diabetes. I do not recommend its regular use for strong reasons. As available in the United States, it is neither natural nor healthy and is highly chemically processed, high-fructose item. Agave nectar carries all risks of other processed high-fructose items. Some agave brands have a higher content of fructose than high-fructose syrup. The promotion of fructose in agave as “natural fruit sugar” is also misleading, since fructose in most fruits occurs in much smaller amounts than glucose.
Humans have limited capacity for absorbing and metabolizing fructose. Much of fructose in high-fructose items reaches the colon unchanged and is used as nutrients by the gut microbes. This explains many adverse bowel effects of fructose, including bloating, flatulence, cramps, and loose stools. People with a history of malabsorption, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, and GERD should be especially careful about consuming processed high-fructose items, such as agave and corn-derived sweeteners.
The serious adverse metabolic effects of fructose in processed high-fructose food items include: (1) elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides that contribute to plaque formation in arteries, and sets the stage for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure; (2) insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, and diabetes; (3) cellular inflammation; and (4) obesity. So, the claim that agave is low-glycemic product and therefore is suitable for diabetics is scientifically is not valid. In fact, recent studies point to a heightened risk of gout (an inflammatory disorder) associated with high fructose intake, as with heavy use of carbonated beverages sweetened with fructose.
I include brief comments on the physiology of glucose and fructose in fruits and vegetables to shed light on the toxicity of processed high-fructose food items, such as agave and high-fructose corn syrup. Glucose rapidly enters cells facilitated by a family of specialized proteins that serve as glucose porters, and are appropriately called glucose transporters. Fructose, by contrast, is carried by only one member of this family called GLUT-5. A second member, GLUT-2, also facilitates fructose entry; however, glucose competes with fructose for GLUT-2. The metabolic chemistry for fructose is also more complex and demanding than that for metabolizing glucose.
The more sweet foods we consume, the more we want to consume them. This is the way evolution designed the function of sweetness taste buds in the mouth—when ready-energy foods (fruits and sweet vegetables) were available, the body wants to take in more for storage for later use. For individuals with obesity and diabetes, the ideal way is a no-sweet way. For diabetics, at this time I can recommend only Stevia. For them and others, when something sweet needs to be eaten. I suggest blueberries with cottage cheese or one-half of a green apple or a pear. On uncommon occasions, small quantities of natural sweeteners such as raw honey and dates may be used for uncooked foods. For cooked dishes, natural syrups (maple, rice, and others) and fruit juices (apple, cranberry, and others) may be consumed.
Understanding Insulin Dysfunction
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