IF you’ve switched to diet drinks in a bid to cut down on sugar, then you might want to reevaluate just how healthy your choices are. Because scientists now claim that sweeteners found in Diet Coke and other soft drinks could damage your gut bacteria. According to scientists from universities in Israel and Singapore, six common artificial sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k – have all been found to be toxic to gut bacteria. More and more studies are realising the importance of gut bacteria to a person’s overall health – with bad bacteria linked to a range of diseases from obesity to bowel diseases, even Alzheimer’s. The study, published in Molecules, looked at the relative toxicity of the sweeteners and ten sports supplements containing them. It found that the bacteria in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to tiny concentrations of the sweeteners. In a lab trial, all six of the sweeteners were exposed to bacteria that are commonly found in the gut, and these bacteria were then genetically modified to contain fluorescent compounds which glow when they detect toxins.
Sometimes you want something a bit more pizazzy than water — like a diet soda. But if you have a rare hereditary disorder known as phenylketonuria PKU, you need to limit your intake of phenylalanine, found in aspartame. For this, and other reasons, you may want a diet soda without aspartame. Don’t worry. Finding a diet drink without aspartame isn’t that hard. Even some of the most common brands, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have options. Aspartame is a sugar substitute approximately times sweeter than table sugar, so just a small amount is needed to sweeten food or beverages.
Diet sodas are popular beverages all over the world, especially among people who want to reduce their sugar or calorie intake. Instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame-k, or sucralose, are used to sweeten them. Diet sodas were first introduced in the s for people with diabetes, though they were later marketed to people trying to control their weight or reduce their sugar intake. Despite being free of sugar and calories, the health effects of diet drinks and artificial sweeteners are controversial. Diet soda is essentially a mixture of carbonated water, artificial or natural sweetener, colors, flavors, and other food additives. It usually has very few to no calories and no significant nutrition. For example, one ounce mL can of Diet Coke contains no calories, sugar, fat, or protein and 40 mg of sodium 1. However, not all sodas that use artificial sweeteners are low in calories or sugar-free.