CCC Statement in Response to Shil et al on Neotame

A new study entitled, “The Artificial Sweetener Neotame Negatively Regulates the Intestinal Epithelium Directly Through T1R3-Signaling and Indirectly Through Pathogenic Changes to Model Gut Bacteria“, was recently published in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal. Led by investigators out of Jahangirnagar University and Angela Ruskin University, the objective of this study was to better understand how neotame impacts gut bacteria and how they interact with the intestinal epithelium. The authors utilized two model gut bacteria, Enterococcus faecalis and Escherichia coli , which are predominantly identified in the microbiota and a human cell model of the intestinal epithelium. The bacterial growth curve, biofilm formation, bacterial adhesion and invasion, as well as cytotoxicity following exposure to neotame were assessed.

The authors concluded that their findings demonstrate that neotame can damage the intestinal epithelium directly, through the sweet taste receptor, T1R3, and indirectly, through stimulating pathogenic changes in model gut bacteria.

The investigators’ use of in vitro bacterial models limits the findings of the current study, as such models cannot mimic the complex environment within the human body and may induce interactions that do not occur in vivo. Further, the responses seen from the exposure levels measured are not predictive of that of real-life exposure (i.e., 24 h exposure to neotame vs 5 h intestinal transit time). As noted by the researchers themselves, in reality, it is unlikely that human epithelium and gut microbiota would be exposed for the length of time studied in the current investigation.

Safety has been well-documented on low or no-calorie sweeteners and the gut microbiome. It has been determined that there are no safety concerns at their currently approved levels. For more information, please visit the following page.

In response to this study, the Calorie Control Council has issued the following statement:

“Given the use of lab controlled models, the results of the current study cannot be readily inferred to humans. Further, considering the small amount needed to achieve the desired level of sweetness in food and beverage products, people are unlikely to consume levels of neotame that would affect the gut microbiome. Low- and no-calorie sweeteners, including neotame, have been continuously proven safe by global regulatory agencies including the FDA and EFSA,” said Carla Saunders, President, Calorie Control Council.

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