According to a paper published online on November 5, 2012 in ‘Obesity Review’, consuming high amounts of fructose, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols (a type of low-calorie sweetener) could cause the gut bacteria to adapt in a way that interferes with satiety signals and metabolism.
The researchers explained that when bacteria in the gut process food, they release byproducts called short-chain fatty acids. These acids are supposed to be beneficial and serve as energy in the body. However, as the sweetener-adapted bacteria become more efficient at processing high amount of high sugary food, they also produce more and more short-chain fatty acids, which would lower satiety signals.
This might cause disruption in our feeling full and so prevent us from stopping to eat when we should. This could also partly explain why drinking diet soda could cause overweight. Perhaps people drink more diet soda because they are trying to lose weight. What they do not realize is that the calorie-free sweetness might confuse the brain into craving more sugar.
Also, the short-chain fatty acids can cause inflammation in the lining of the gut, though scientists have yet to find out how. But one thing the scientists are sure is that inflammation can damage gut tissue and result in leaky gut syndrome. And so bacteria leak through that damaged gut tissue into the blood stream and cause further inflammation there. This is serious since it can lead to insulin resistance and an higher risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and Type-2 diabetes.
We should, therefore, consume sugary products and even diet sweeteners in moderation, and drink more plain water instead. We should eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to make our gut flora to thrive.