This week, on the news, there were stories about diet soda and its affect on gut bacteria. Then the story quickly turned to glucose intolerance - what is the connection?

Our digestive tract is a virtual microbiome, housing many different types of bacteria, that change throughout the course of your lifetime. Science has yet to even categorize all of the different types and it is unlikely if the full function of the bacteria will ever be completely understood. The study that was released this week looks at one type of bacteria that seems to help your body control blood glucose levels. Researchers noticed that mice fed artificial sweeteners had an overall elevated blood glucose level.

They then turned their research to an already existing nutrition study and compared glucose levels in people who said the regularly consumed diet sodas. The group showed some correlation between the amount of artificial sweeteners and long-term blood sugar levels. They then asked for volunteers from the group who said they rarely or never consumed artificial sweeteners. These volunteers all agreed to consume moderate amounts of artificial sweeteners every day for a week; the results showed that over half of the small group showed changes in their blood glucose levels.

The bottom line for the study is this - a larger more focused study is needed. But in the mean time, it adds another reason for you to be mindful of the health of your gut and, if you have elevated glucose levels and drink diet sodas, it may be time to switch to water.