Neotame: The Sweetener with a Bitter Impact on Gut Health

by Ella

A recent study has revealed concerning implications surrounding the use of neotame, a sweetener commonly found in cakes, soft drinks, and chewing gum. Researchers have found that even small amounts of neotame consumption can lead to adverse health effects, including irritable bowel syndrome, insulin resistance, and potentially life-threatening conditions like sepsis.

Dr. Havovi Chichger, the senior author of the study conducted at Anglia Ruskin University, cautioned that while sweeteners are often marketed as a healthier alternative to sugar, some can pose significant risks to consumers’ health. Neotame, developed in 2002 as a substitute for aspartame, has garnered widespread use in recent years, yet its impact on gut health has raised concerns.


The study, co-authored by Dr. Aparna Shil from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, found that neotame could weaken the gut by causing disease in “good bacteria,” leading to the invasion of the gut wall and potential illness. This damage to the epithelial barrier, a crucial part of the gut wall, can result in various health issues, as highlighted in their findings published in the medical journal Frontiers in Nutrition.


Previous research, including work by Chichger, has also implicated other common sweeteners, such as saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame, in similar harmful effects on gut health.


Chichger emphasized the importance of further research into the toxic effects of artificial sweeteners, particularly considering their widespread use and potency. Some of the newest sweeteners on the market are reported to be 1,000 times sweeter than sugar, raising concerns about their potential health impacts.


Even at low concentrations, neotame was found to disrupt the gut barrier and alter bacterial behavior, leading to increased invasion of healthy gut cells and potential cell death. This disruption has been linked to conditions such as irritable bowel diseases and sepsis.

While the European Food Safety Authority deemed neotame “safe for use” in 2010, ongoing research may prompt a reassessment of its safety. Chichger highlighted the need for evidence-based risk assessments to address potential concerns surrounding the use of neotame and other artificial sweeteners.

In light of these findings, consumers are urged to exercise caution when consuming products containing neotame and other artificial sweeteners, and further research is warranted to fully understand their impact on gut health and overall well-being.



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