Surprising Diabetes Diet Information - Artificial Sweeteners May Spike Blood Sugar in Obese People

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Surprising results of new research may change the standard diabetes diet information and advice doctors give patients  - especially those who are morbidly obese with BMI's above 42.  A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, while a BMI of 30 and over is considered obese.

Artificial sweeteners, previously thought to have a neutral effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, appear to spike insulin levels in these obese non-diabetic patients.

Until now, artificial sweeteners were not thought to affect blood sugar and their use was part of the standard diabetes diet information and healthy diet advice given to patients to prevent blood sugar problems, especially overweight and obese patients who are at high risk for insulin resistance and diabetes. Artificial sweeteners  were thought to help reduce calorie intake as well as avoid table sugar that can have a profound effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Recurrent spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels are thought to be one factor leading to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Diet Information - The Research on Artificial Sweeteners

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo gave 17 morbidly obese patients  a glucose tolerance test, the standard test for determining blood sugar problems.

In order to see if sucrolose would affect blood sugar, patients consumed either a glass of water or sucralose drink before the glucose challenge test. Each subject was tested twice - once with the water alone and another time with the sucrolose beverage. This enabled each subject to be his or her own control.

Researchers found that insulin levels rose 20% higher with sucralose  than when the glucose challenge test was given with water.

Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners react with taste receptors on the tongue to give the sensation of sweetness. It was thought,  that they had no effect on blood sugar and tests on healthy normal weight individuals have supported this.

Animal studies have found that the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas, the gland that produces insulin, contain receptors similar to those in the mouth. The researchers theorize that the artificial sweeteners may react with  pancreatic receptors to trigger release of insulin. Variously animal studies have shown that artificial sweeteners affect receptors in the GI tract that increase glucose absorption.

Researchers said that  the results, published on line in May 2013 issue of Diabetes Care,  indicate more study is needed to determine how artificial sweeteners like sucralose affect obese patients blood sugar levels.

In the interim, overweight and obese people should realize that artificial sweeteners may not be blood sugar neutral.


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