Feed your microbiota, too.

Jacob Mayfield Oct 16, 2014

To follow up my past two posts about how poor assumptions in dietary science mistakenly concluded that full-fat dairy would promote better health outcomes and how the gut microbiota altered peanut allergies, I found a third recent article that ties the topics together.  It seems another long-held dietary assumption, that since calories lead to obesity, substituting noncaloric artifical sweeteners (NAS) should promote good health, is deeply flawed.  It seems normal gut microbes don't think this is such a great idea.

Gut microbes also eat sugar.

Not only do NAS alter microbial and host metabolism toward glucose intolerance, they drive shifts in microbiotia composition.  Presumably these shifts are "heritable", that is, when parents seed the guts of their infants, they would do so with a NAS-tuned microbiota.

Hence, while NAS appeared harmless because they do not directly modify the host, the long-term consequences mediated by the microbiota may be drastic.

Article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13793.html