True Confessions of a Former Sugar-Substitute Lover

True Confessions of a Former Sugar-Substitute Lover Posted By:
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For years I drank beverages sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners and thought they were the greatest invention—I could enjoy a sweet treat without the added calories. I consumed diet soda daily; other artificially sweetened foods in my line-up included yogurt, frozen yogurt, and sweetened/flavored waters and coffee drinks. About 7 years ago, I made a New Year's resolution to I stop consuming all artificial sweeteners and artificially sweetened foods. Part of that decision was because I realized how often I was reaching for those little colorful sweetener packets and artificially sweetened food and drink items. I really thought they helped me to maintain my weight. Then, years ago (though after my New Year's resolution), a study came out that made me rethink this belief—the study found that rats who were fed artificial sweeteners craved more sweets and ultimately gained weight.

A new study published last week suggests 2 sugar substitutes—acesulfame potassium and sucralose—interfere with a key function of P-glycoprotein (P-gp; also called multidrug resistance protein 1). This protein is a transmembrane transporter involved in liver detoxification and metabolism of some medications. The 2 sugar substitutes inhibit the activity of P-gp in liver cells, which in turn can reduce the body's ability to detoxify itself of toxins, drugs, and drug metabolites. Researcher Laura Danner, a doctoral student at the Medical College of Wisconsin, presented the study findings at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting on April 5, 2022. Lead study researcher Stephanie Olivier Van Strichelen, PhD, observed the sweeteners impact P-gp activity in liver cells at concentrations seen through consumption of common foods and beverages.

This research is preliminary and is expected to be confirmed in preclinical and clinical studies.

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