There is a lot of controversy in the discussion of sugar and sugar alternatives such as sugar alcohols and non-nutritive sweeteners. Recent studies may have clarified the mystery behind the no-calorie sugar substitute stevia and how it affects blood sugar levels.
In the study published in the Nature Communications Journal, researchers completed a test on wild-type mice and Trpm5-/-mice (mice that lack the TRPM5 protein). The TRPM5 protein is significant because it is activated by stevia and is essential for the tastes of sweet, bitter and umami. These tastes are enhanced by stevia, because it stimulates TRPM5.
Researchers fed the animals a high fat diet and allowed free access to drinking water containing a stevioside solution. Stevioside is a steviol glycoside, a natural and non-caloric sweet tasting organic molecule present in the extracts of the plant Stevia rebaudiana.
They found that the wild-type mice did not develop type 2 diabetes, in contrast with the TRPM5-/-mice. It is thought that the study indicates that TRPM5 is activated with stevia components and protects against development of very high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Could this be a treatment or preventative measure for diabetes? Right now, there is still a lot more research that needs to occur. What we can say is that new treatments and prevention methods for type 2 diabetes are around the corner.
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14733
*Original content researched and written by Tara Rochford
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