According to one study, consuming sugar-free foods and drinks like yogurt and diet sodas may not be good for your health because they can impair your liver’s ability to eliminate toxins. The study, led by a team from the Medical College of Wisconsin in the US, looked at two sugar substitutes – acesulfame potassium and sucralose – also known as non-nutritive sweeteners, and offer a sweet taste with little or no calories. These disrupt the function of a protein that plays a vital role in liver detoxification and the metabolism of certain drugs.
“Many people don’t realize that these sweeteners are found in light or sugar-free versions of yogurts and snack foods and even in non-food items like liquid medications and some cosmetics,” said Laura Danner, a doctoral student at the Medical College. .
In the study, the team found that acesulfame potassium and sucralose inhibited the activity of P-glycoprotein (PGP), also known as multi-drug resistance protein 1 (MDR1). PGP is part of a family of transporters that work together to cleanse the body of toxins, drugs, and drug metabolites.
“We observed that sweeteners impacted PGP activity in liver cells at concentrations expected from consumption of common foods and beverages, well below the maximum limits recommended by the FDA,” said Stephanie Olivier. Van Stichelen, PhD, who leads the research team.
“To our knowledge, we are the first group to decipher the molecular mechanism by which non-nutritive sweeteners impact liver detoxification. »
The experiments also showed that sweeteners stimulate transport activity and probably bind to PGP, and thus compete with and inhibit the transport of other substrates such as xenobiotics, drugs and their metabolites, short chain lipids and bile acids.
Although the researchers caution that the study is preliminary and needs to be confirmed in preclinical and clinical studies, the results suggest that non-nutritive sweeteners could be problematic for people taking medications that use PGP as their primary detox transporter. These include certain antidepressants, antibiotics, and blood pressure medications.
“If future studies confirm that non-nutritive sweeteners impair the body’s detoxification process, it would be essential to investigate potential interactions and determine safe consumption levels for at-risk groups,” Danner said. “It might also be important to include amounts of included non-nutritive sweeteners on food labels so people can better track their intake. »
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Artificial sweeteners impair liver’s ability to detoxify: study – Reuters News in France and abroad