BEER-SHEVA, Israel...December 7, 2020 - According to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, the natural sweetener stevia may lead to a gut microbial imbalance. The findings were just published in Molecules, a leading international peer-reviewed journal of chemistry.
Stevia is a natural low-calorie sweetener that is growing in popularity in food and beverage products and is generally considered safe. However, emerging scientific evidence has implicated the sweetener in gut microbial imbalance, which can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal health issues.
According to the new study, stevia may disrupt communications between different bacteria in the gut microbiome. While the team found that stevia inhibited these pathways, it did not kill off the bacteria.
"This is an initial study that indicates that more research is warranted before the food industry replaces sugar and artificial sweeteners with stevia and its extracts," says lead researcher Dr. Karina Golberg, of the BGU Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering.
The researchers who participated in the study include Prof. Ariel Kushmaro, Dr. Karina Golberg and Prof. Robert Marks of the BGU Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, and their students Orr Share and Victor Markus. Prof. Kerem Terali from Near East University in Turkey and Prof. Nazmi Ozer from Hacettepe University in Cyprus also participated in the research.
The study was partially supported by the Israeli Council for Higher Education.
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU's academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU's main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion's vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today. For more information visit http://www.aabgu.org.