Newswise — Washington D.C. – New insights on how our diets, the organisms in our gastrointestinal tract, and our health status interact could shed light on whether and how low-calorie sweeteners affect health.

A recent paper in the journal Nutrition Today examines the interrelationships among the diet, gut microbiota, and health status. It also focuses specifically on assessments of the relationship of low-/no-calorie sweeteners (LNCSs) to aspects of the gut microbiota.

While certain diseases have been associated with changes in the microbiota (i.e., dysbiosis), it is unclear at this time what constitutes a “healthy” gut microbiome.

After careful review of published research, the authors of the new paper conclude there is no clear evidence that LNCSs adversely impact the gut microbiota when consumed by humans below levels approved by U.S. federal and international agencies.

However, gut microbiota changes as a result of LNCS consumption have been demonstrated in some test animal studies, warranting further investigation into the meaning of these changes and the potential effects of long-term exposure in humans.

The review provides a helpful introduction to terms and concepts used to define science in the area and touches on the last decade of intensifying research on LNCSs and gut microbiota.

According to the authors, “Confounding and study design limitations make it difficult for researchers and clinicians to interpret study results. Future studies should reduce confounding factors by controlling the diet, using pure forms of LNCSs and investigating the effects of bulking agents . . . Further research will help elucidate the effects of LNCSs on the gut microbiota and human health.”

The Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS) is committed to leading positive change across the food and beverage ecosystem. The research above was supported by IAFNS Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners Committee. IAFNS is a 501(c)(3) science-focused nonprofit uniquely positioned to mobilize industry, government and academia to drive, fund and lead actionable research. IAFNS elevates food safety and nutrition sciences to advance public health. The organization was founded on the belief that collaboration and the inclusion of diverse perspectives is crucial to credible science that benefits the entire food and beverage ecosystem.