Are There Healthy Sweeteners: The Effects of Sugar Substitutes on the Gut Microbiome
Objective: This study was designed to examine the effects of sugar substitutes on the gut microbiome.
Methods: PUBMED was used to find articles that studied the gut microbiome after consumption of a sugar substitute in humans. Both observational and interventional studies were selected for this review.
Results: Starting with 31 articles found on PUBMED, 5 articles were included to be reviewed after 26 articles were excluded. Three natural sugar substitutes and four categories of artificial sweeteners were studied. Maltitol, lactitol, and isomalt were the natural sugar substitutes, and aspartame, acesulfame-K, non-caloric artificial sweeteners, and saccharin were the artificial sweeteners. The outcomes for Bifidobacteria, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Lactobacilli, Fusobacterium prausnitzii, and Enterobacteriaceae were addressed. Natural sugar substitutes were seen to increase bacterial populations that are believed to be beneficial to humans while artificial sweeteners established bacterial populations that are considered harmful to health.
Conclusions: The studies examined suggest cautious use of artificial sweeteners due to its effects on the gut microbiome while natural sugar substitutes could have potential health benefits