Artificial sweeteners may disrupt body's blood sugar controls

Scientists have found that artificial sweeteners alter the microbiome, the population of bacteria that is in the digestive system.

Artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes, researchers are reporting.
That is “the very same condition that we often aim to prevent” by consuming sweeteners instead of sugar, said Dr Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, at a news conference to discuss the findings.
The scientists performed a multitude of experiments, mostly on mice, to back up their assertion that the sweeteners alter the microbiome, the population of bacteria that is in the digestive system.
The different mix of microbes, the researchers contend, changes the metabolism of glucose, causing levels to rise higher after eating and to decline more slowly than they would.
The findings by Dr Elinav and his collaborators in Israel, including Eran Segal, a professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Weizmann, were published in September by the journal Nature.
Cathryn R Nagler, a professor of pathology at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the research but did write an accompanying commentary in Nature, called the results “very compelling.”
She noted that many conditions, including obesity and diabetes, had been linked to changes in the microbiome. “What the study suggests,” she said, “is we should step back and reassess our extensive use of artificial sweeteners.”
Previous studies on the health effects of artificial sweeteners have come to conflicting and confusing findings. Some found that they were associated with weight loss; others found the exact opposite, that people who drank diet soda actually weighed more.
Some found a correlation between artificial sweeteners and diabetes, but those findings were not entirely convincing: Those who switch to the products may already be overweight and prone to the disease.
While acknowledging that it is too early for broad or definitive conclusions, Dr Elinav said he had already changed his own behavior.
“I’ve consumed huge amounts of coffee, and extensively used sweeteners, thinking like many other people that they are at least not harmful to me and perhaps even beneficial,” he said. “Given the surprising results that we got in our study, I made a personal preference to stop using them.
“We don’t think the body of evidence that we present in humans is sufficient to change the current recommendations,” he continued. “But I would hope it would provoke a healthy discussion.”
In the initial set of experiments, the scientists added saccharin (the sweetener in the pink packets of Sweet’N

Zen smart mobile for less than 2000INR

credit: from NVONEWS.

Zen Mobile to launch low cost Firefox handsets this month. This is going to come with similar specs as other Firefox smartphones launched thus far.
Zen Mobile is all set to come out with a dirt cheap smartphone running on Firefox operating system. The handset will be the fourth in the country and is expected to be priced below Rs 2000.
The handsets from Zen Mobile is coming out with matching specs and features compared to the three other Firefox handsets that were launched in the last few weeks by the likes of Spice, Intex and Alcatel.firefox phone zen mobile
This seems to be just the beginning. There are many other smartphone makers who are just waiting to see the response that the Firefox handsets get in the Indian market and then take the plunge. It is really amazing to see India’s top smartphone maker Micromax still not deciding to come out with such an inexpensive smartphone.
But its acceptability may remain limited given the fact that these handsets run on a new operating system and despite their very low pricing many people are still apprehensive about them. Another reason may be the fact that Android smartphones are also becoming very affordable. They are available for as low as less than Rs 4000 or even lower and people may find them more attractive given their ease of use and better specifications.
The new handset is set to arrive in the market before the end of October. The first handset to arrive in the market was Intex’s Cloud FX. The handset being sold at Rs 1999 got good response as the company was able to sell as many as 15,000 units of Cloud FX in just three days of launch.
Zen Mobile officials are visibly overjoyed. Deepesh Gupta of the company says, “Most of the buyers in India are still price conscious and most of them still find owning a smartphone very expensive… The new Firefox OS phone redefines the smartphone category, breaks new price barriers and makes it possible for a huge untapped Indian audience to now own a smartphone.” Li Gong, President of Mozilla, said, “The expansion of Firefox OS into a brand new category of smartphones, along with the continued growth of new form factors holds great promise for the adoption of open Web technology and for enabling millions more people to access the Web.”