Effects of commercially available non-nutritive sweeteners in an experimentally induced rat model of type 2 diabetes.
Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) are becoming more popular as sugar substitutes for diabetic patients. Most studies have reported conflicting results and have used NNSs in their pure form; and not in the form consumed by people. Thus, the present study primarily aimed at investigating the effects of commercially available NNSs in an experimentally induced rat model of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study also assessed the toxicological effects of these NNSs in normal rats. Seven-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into eleven groups, as follows: Normal Control (NC), Diabetic Control (DBC), Diabetic Aspartame (DASP), Diabetic Sucralose (DSCL), Diabetic Cyclamate (DCLM), Diabetic Saccharin (DSAC), Diabetic Stevia (DSTV), Toxicological Aspartame (TASP), Toxicological Sucralose (TSCL), Toxicological Cyclamate (TCLM) and Toxicological Saccharin (TSAC). T2D was induced experimentally in the DBC, DASP, DSCL, DCLM, DSAC and DSTV groups only. In order to induce the two major characteristics of T2D, the rats were fed 10 % fructose solutions ad libitum for two weeks to induce insulin resistance and then intraperitoneally injected with 40 mg/kg BW streptozotocin (STZ). Rats with three hour fasting blood glucose (3h-FBG) concentrations ≥300 mg/dl were considered as diabetic. During the 13 week experimental period, control groups were administered with normal drinking water; when treated diabetic (DASP, DSCL, DCLM, DSAC and DSTV) and toxicological (TASP, TSCL, TCLM and TSAC) groups were receiving their respective NNS solutions, ad libitum, at concentrations equivalent to the sweetness of 10% and 20% sucrose solution, respectively. Although consumption of commercially available NNSs to normal rats reduced serum lipids and fructosamine, the rats presented tissue damage concomitant with increased serum inflammatory biomarkers. In the diabetic groups, consumption of NNSs influenced serum lipid profile and worsened tissue injury which was also confirmed by increased inflammatory biomarkers. The results of this study indicated that consumption of commercially available NNSs can profoundly influence diabetes related parameters and its related complications in both normal and type 2 diabetic rats. Thus it is recommended that individuals using NNSs should limit their daily intake.