Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Non-nutritive Sweeteners And Blood Sugar

The Study

Non-nutritive sweeteners can be a useful tool for those trying to eliminate sugar from their diet. However, some believe that despite being calorie free, they may still have a negative impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. The fear is that artificial sweeteners may stimulate the gut or initiate a systematic response due to their sweet taste. 

This investigation is a systematic review and meta-analysis of 26 trials examining the glucose and insulin raising effect after consuming a non-nutritive sweetener preload.  Over 450 subjects were included in these trials. The conclusion of this comprehensive study is that there is no negative impact on blood glucose or insulin levels after consuming non-nutritive sweeteners.  Interestingly, the non-nutritive sweeteners actually improved blood glucose levels in diabetic subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 112:1002-14.  

Take Home Message

Non-nutritive sweeteners, like Splenda and Equal have been shown to be quite safe in the research literature. This is particularly true when consumed in moderation. This study lends further support to this idea. The key here is moderation. Daily use of non-nutritive sweeteners is not a great idea. The big problem that I have found with them is that they can perpetuate cravings for sweets and refined carbs. However, when consumed just a few times per week, these sweeteners are great because they allow you to have a soda or dessert, yet stay away from sugar. 

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