Several years ago, I covered the popular artificial sweeteners sucralose, acesulfame-k, aspartame, and saccharin, finding mixed results and little to confirm the widely-held view that they provoke an insulin response. I also wrote about diet soda in general, coming out generally against them while acknowledging the lack of hard evidence either way. But artificial sweeteners may be interfering with our metabolic response to food by an entirely different avenue: the gut biome. According to a new study (PDF) that has nothing at all to do with the cephalic-phase insulin response, artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the composition of our gut microbiota.
There were a few different stages to the study: