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Nix Sweeteners to Avoid Spreading Antibiotic Resistance

No artificial sweeteners sign with slash through piece of artificially sweetened candy

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Four widely used artificial sweeteners—saccharine, sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame potassium—promote the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes in both environmental and clinical settings, report researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, in The ISME Journal. They found that these four nonnutritive sweeteners promote horizontal transfer of the genes between bacteria, furthering the spread of antibiotic-resistant genes in the intestine. The researchers say the findings provide insight into the spread of antimicrobial resistance and point to a potential risk associated with ingesting the artificial sweeteners.

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