Health Advice



Artificial sweeteners turn bacteria in your gut against you

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Victor Lustig was a true con man, offering fake shares in fake businesses (Al Capone fell for it), counterfeiting money and even selling the Eiffel Tower. But all those artificial enterprises just ended him up in Alcatraz, where he died in 1947.

Turns out that you all have been equally conned by artificial sweeteners -- they offer the illusion of sugary flavors with none of the health hazards, but it's just make-believe.

We have known for a while that the sugar substitutes can fuel your sweet tooth and cause the body to crank up your sugar craving. But until U.K. researchers published their recent study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, it wasn't known just how much damage saccharin, sucralose and aspartame can do to the lining of the walls of your intestine -- letting harmful gut bacteria seep into your blood stream, congregate in your lymph nodes, liver and spleen and put you at risk for serious infections.

All it took was the equivalent of two cans of diet soda for the researchers to see that artificial sweeteners significantly increased harmful bacteria's (E. coli and E. faecalis) stickiness to cells in the lining of the gut. That leads to increased formation of biofilms and opened up entryways for the bacteria to move throughout the body.

The bottom line: Cultivate a taste for the natural sweetness in foods like 100% whole grains, fruits, vegetables and spices. Just like vaping is not a healthy alternative to cigarettes, artificial sweeteners are not the way to avoid sugary foods.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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