Researchers Uncover Possible Negative Effects of Stevia

Dec. 8, 2020
Sweetener may lead to a gut microbial imbalance, which itself could lead to a variety of gastrointestinal health issues.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel, have found the non-nutritive sweetener stevia may lead to a gut microbial imbalance, which itself could lead to a variety of gastrointestinal health issues. The findings were just published in Molecules, an international peer-reviewed journal of chemistry.

While the sweetener is generally considered safe and has enjoyed a health halo since it comes from a plant, the research indicates stevia may disrupt communications between different bacteria in the gut microbiome. While the team found stevia inhibited these pathways, it did not kill off the bacteria.

"This is an initial study that indicates more research is warranted before the food industry replaces sugar and artificial sweeteners with stevia and its extracts," says lead researcher Karina Golberg of the BGU Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Dept. of Biotechnology Engineering.

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