Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota

Jotham Suez, Tal Korem, David Zeevi, Gili Zilberman-Schapira, Christoph A. Thaiss, Ori Maza, David Israeli, Niv Zmora, Shlomit Gilad, Adina Weinberger, Yael Kuperman, Alon Harmelin, Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Hagit Shapiro, Zamir Halpern, Eran Segal*, Eran Elinav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume514
Issue number7521
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Oct 2014

Funding

FundersFunder number
Gurwin Family Fund for Scientific Research
Minerva Stiftung foundation
Morris Kahn Fellowships for Systems Biology
National Institutes of Health
Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
European Research Council
Abisch-Frenkel-Stiftung
Rising Tide Foundation

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