UsingÂ artificial sweeteners instead of sugar could increase the risk of diabetes in just two weeks, new research suggests.
The study shows that the supplements can change the bodyâs response to glucose, heightening the risk of the condition which is suffered by almost 4 million Britons.
Previous studies have linked high intake of sweeteners to a greater risk of diabetes,
The new research, presented at a conference in Lisbon, investigated the mechanisms behind the association.
This study, led by the Adelaide Medical School in Australia, involved 27 healthy people who were either given sweeteners Â - the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink, or an inactive placebo.
At the end of two weeks, tests were carried out examining levels of glucose absorption, blood glucose, insulin and gut peptides. Â
The team found that those given supplements such as sucralose - which is commonly marketed as Splenda - saw a heightened response across all fronts.
None of these measures were altered in the volunteers who were given a placebo.
The study determined that just two weeks of sweeteners was enough to make a difference.
Lead author Prof Richard Young said: "This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body's control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes."
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.