Although "approved by most food regulation agencies as safe for humans," researchers have determined that the use of artificial sweeteners made mice glucose intolerant. In other words, sweeteners, which were "aimed at preventing diabetes" might actually be contributing to its development.
After 11 weeks, the researchers tested all the rodents' glucose tolerance by giving them a high-glucose drink and taking regular blood samples. Under normal conditions, the blood tests should show an initial spike in glucose, followed by a decline as the body secretes the insulin in response. Insulin instructs cells to use the extra glucose for energy or turn it into fat. Glucose intolerance occurs when this process becomes inefficient, and is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes.
The blood-glucose levels of the mice consuming the sweeteners spiked at a higher level than all the control groups and also took longer to drop back down to normal. "They showed significant glucose intolerance," says Segal, "at levels comparable to a metabolic disease."
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