WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Compared to adults, children were found in a recent study to have twice the blood concentrations of artificial sweeteners after drinking a can of diet soda.
The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease at the National Institutes of Health. The team assessed how children and adults absorb the sweeteners into the blood stream, and found the chemicals sucralose and acesulfame-potassium at a higher rate in younger participants. The findings were published in the journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry.
In the experiment, scientists measured the levels of artificial sweetener in the blood streams of subjects after drinking a can of diet soda. The study involved a group of 22 adults between the ages of 18 and 45 years old, and a group of 11 children between the ages of 6 and 12. None of the subjects had any known medical conditions.
The group of children were found to have double the concentrations of plasma sucralose in their blood streams after drinking a single 12-ounce can of diet soda, compared to the adults.
Researchers say this finding adds to their previous work, which revealed these sweeteners were also present in breast milk when mothers consumed certain foods, beverages or medicines. Because the kidneys of children under age 2 have have a lower filtration rate, researchers say blood levels of artificial sweeteners in infants could proportionately be even higher.
The study's release comes as many medical scientists and consumers are concerned over the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners. The research team warns early exposure to the chemicals may negatively influence a child's future taste, diet preferences and metabolic rate.