Artificial Sweeteners are present in many of the foods and sports supplements on offer in supermarkets all over the world. Many are consumed under the moniker “artificial flavors” and completely without knowledge by the consumer. After many years of study and research which has inconclusively linked them to a variety of health problems from cancer to immune system disruption, a new study finds that all six of the FDA approved additives are toxic to digestive gut bacteria.

Check Those Nutrition Facts And Hold On To Your Gut

The bacteria which live all throughout our digestive track are now understood to be critical for a myriad of necessary biological functions. They are important for hormonal regulation, proper immune system function, and more, and definitely worth saving if we can.

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A collaborative study from Israeli and Singaporean researchers used a quick, inexpensive, and brilliant method of detecting the genotoxic and cytotoxic properties of artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. By genetically-modifying different strands of E-Coli bacteria to bio-illuminate when exposed to toxic agents, the scientist were able to measure the toxic effects of all six sweeteners, along with a host of sport supplements individually.

An Emerging Environmental Pollutant

Simply using a photoreceptor to measure the light given off by the little E-Coli, they found evidence of both toxicity levels significant enough to damage and inhibit the growth of beneficial gut microbes. Though the E-coli used in the study is the only representative of the complex mircobial environment in our gut, the toxic effect should be the same.

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The researchers believe their method has laid the foundation for robust future observations on the effects of artificial sweeteners in not only the body but also in our drinking water. The study reminds us that countries like the United States, Germany, and China have all published literature on artificial sweeteners in surface water sources and aquifers, revealing the not-so-sweet side of the additives as emerging environmental pollutants.