Studies examining the use of sweeteners in soft drinks indicate that drinking too much Diet Coke and other diet drinks could trigger diabetes.
Scientists from the University of Adelaide claim their research shows that sweeteners, such as aspartame, affects the good bacteria in your gut, potentially triggering diabetes.
However, the findings are disputed with others arguing the amount you would need to drink is too high to have any real impact.
What does the research say?
In 2017, researchers found that people who consumed an amount of sweeteners equivalent to 1.5 litres of diet soft drink left them unable to control blood sugar levels properly.
The capsules were taken three times a day for two weeks, reported The Sun, and were given in capsules to 29 people.
Stool samples from the participants were taken to check the type of microorganisms and whether their gut was affected by the sweeteners.
The scientists found that those taking the capsules rather than the placebo saw a reduction in the level of good bacteria, including the type which helps digest food.
They also found a rise in bacteria that can cause diseases.
What about diabetes?
Researchers noted a drop in the bacteria which help to control blood glucose levels among study participants.
Diabetes is caused when a person’s blood sugar level becomes too high, either due to their immune system attacking cells which produce insulin (Type 1) or the body not producing enough insulin or failing to react to insulin (Type 2).
Type 1 diabetes is not caused by a poor diet or inactivity and would not be triggered by drinking diet drinks.
The bacteria researchers saw decrease, Butyrivibrio, corresponded with a drop in the release of the hormone GLP-1 which helps control blood glucose levels.
How much Diet Coke would you need to drink to be affected?
In order to consume as much sweetener as the participants in the study, you would have to drink at least five 330ml cans of Diet Coke or other diet drink a day.
A can of Diet Coke contains around 180mg of aspartame.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Sheffield Star