Looks like we found a big flaw on the subject of weight control and noncaloric sweeteners (artificial sweeteners). Noncaloric artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharine were initially introduced as an alternative to sugar in hopes to reduce calories. Through the years, little did we know the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes coincided with the introduction of these artificial sweeteners. We thought the growing number of obesity led to a greater use of noncaloric sweeteners. But researchers in Israel reported that the opposite is true. That is, that the use of noncaloric sweeteners might actually contribute to this epidemic.
The researchers found that mice that were given noncaloric sweeteners developed glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes) quicker compared with mice that were given sucrose or glucose. These noncaloric sweeteners apparently alter the mouse microbiome to favor biochemical pathways that enhance absorption of calorie-rich glucose and short chain fatty acids. Transplanting feces from artificial sweetener fed mice to the germ-free animals produced glucose intolerance in these control animals.
A similar experiment was done with a small group of 7 healthy human volunteers in which they consumed noncaloric sweeteners. After only 1 week, 4 volunteers developed glucose intolerance. Stools from these people were then transplanted into healthy mice. The mice also developed glucose intolerance. Stool from the volunteers that did not develop glucose intolerance did not produce glucose intolerance in mice.
So although these sweeteners have No calories, they have the ability to change the microbiome of the gut that leads to absorption of more calories and more weight gain. Stick with sugar or honey for some sweetness. You are better off with a few calories in these products than the artificial stuff.
Reference: Suez J et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature 2014 Oct 9; 514:181