Effect of low-and non-calorie sweeteners on the gut microbiota: A review of clinical trials and cross-sectional studies
Keywords: 
Sucralose
Non-nutritive sweeteners
Saccharin
Glucose tolerance
Aspartame
Precision nutrition
Issue Date: 
2023
Publisher: 
Elsevier
ISSN: 
1873-1244
Note: 
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Citation: 
Gauthier, P. (Pierre); Milagro-Yoldi, F.I. (Fermín Ignacio); Navas-Carretero, S. (Santiago). "Effect of low-and non-calorie sweeteners on the gut microbiota: A review of clinical trials and cross-sectional studies". Nutrition. 117, 2023, 112237
Abstract
Use of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) has increased worldwide in recent decades. However, evidence from preclinical studies shows that sweetener consumption may induce glucose intolerance through changes in the gut microbiota, which raises public health concerns. As studies conducted on humans are lacking, the aim of this review was to gather and summarize the current evidence on the effects of NNSs on human gut microbiota. Only clinical trials and cross-sectional studies were included in the review. Regarding NNSs (i.e, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and stevia), only two of five clinical trials showed significant changes in gut microbiota composition after the intervention protocol. These studies concluded that saccharin and sucralose impair glycemic tolerance. In three of the four cross-sectional studies an association between NNSs and the microbial composition was observed. All three clinical trials on polyols (i.e, xylitol) showed prebiotic effects on gut microbiota, but these studies had multiple limitations (publication date, dosage, duration) that jeopardize their validity. The microbial response to NNSs consumption could be strongly mediated by the gut microbial composition at baseline. Further studies in which the potential personalized microbial response to NNSs consumption is acknowledged, and that include longer intervention protocols, larger cohorts, and more realistic sweetener dosage are needed to broaden these findings.

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