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Special Issue "Sugar Substitutes and Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Md. Shahidul Islam

Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus), Durban 4000, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Interests: type 2 diabetes; animal model of type 2 diabetes; overweight and obesity; metabolic syndrome; nutrition and metabolism; artificial sweeteners; sugar substitutes; sugar alcohol; medicinal food; functional food
Guest Editor
Dr. Bettina Karin Wölnerhanssen

Head, Metabolic Research Unit, St. Claraspital, Basel, Switzerland & Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Gastroenterology; Diabetes; Obesity; Metabolic Syndrome; Pharmacology; Toxicology; Clinical trials

Special Issue Information

Dear Collagues,

Diabetes is one of the major global public health problems and its prevalent is increasing at an alarming rate in all over the world. Diabetic patients are usually choosing sugar substitutes as a sweetening agent mainly due to their no or lower calorific values (0.0–3.0 kcal/g vs 4.0 kcal/g in sucrose) and more sweetening power compared to sucrose. Additionally, chronic or over consumption of refined sugar or sucrose may cause severe physiological and clinical problems, such as overweight, obesity, diabetes and many other diseases related to metabolic syndrome. Hence, sugar substitute or non-sugar sweeteners are getting more and more popularity among people with above-mentioned diseases. Several sugar substitutes are available in the market, such as fructose, saccharin, aspartame, sugar alcohols or combination of these which many of them have been found to have mild to severe side effects.

Some recent studies have demonstrated links between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and increased body weight, fasting blood glucose and decreased insulin sensitivity in neonatal mice and increased insulin resistance, advance glycation end products, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases in normal individual and these factors are closely linked to the development type 2 diabetes. Although no significant effects of the consumption of artificial sweeteners have been observed in diabetics in case of acute or short-term study but the effects chronic consumption of most of the artificial sweeteners either in normal or diabetic individuals are still unknown. Up to the present, there are controversial issues among the scientists on various experimental investigations involving both humans and animals on the consumption of artificial sweeteners. In all over the world there is a paucity of scientific information on the use of artificial sweeteners in diabetic subjects considering the environmental and genetic factors as well.

We invite investigators to contribute original research and review articles focusing the effects of various sugar substitutes/sweeteners (including natural and artificial) particularly in diabetic condition to understand more about their beneficial and detrimental effects on health particularly in diabetic condition. Articles from both clinical and non-clinical (experimental, e.g., animal studies) studies will be considered for publications in this special issue.

Prof. Dr. Md. Shahidul Islam
Dr. Bettina Karin Wölnerhanssen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sugar substitute
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Stevia

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Effects of the Artificial Sweetener Neotame on the Gut Microbiome and Fecal Metabolites in Mice
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 367; doi:10.3390/molecules23020367
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
PDF Full-text (3162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Although artificial sweeteners are widely used in food industry, their effects on human health remain a controversy. It is known that the gut microbiota plays a key role in human metabolism and recent studies indicated that some artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could
[...] Read more.
Although artificial sweeteners are widely used in food industry, their effects on human health remain a controversy. It is known that the gut microbiota plays a key role in human metabolism and recent studies indicated that some artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could perturb gut microbiome and further affect host health, such as inducing glucose intolerance. Neotame is a relatively new low-caloric and high-intensity artificial sweetener, approved by FDA in 2002. However, the specific effects of neotame on gut bacteria are still unknown. In this study, we combined high-throughput sequencing and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) metabolomics to investigate the effects of neotame on the gut microbiome and fecal metabolite profiles of CD-1 mice. We found that a four-week neotame consumption reduced the alpha-diversity and altered the beta-diversity of the gut microbiome. Firmicutes was largely decreased while Bacteroidetes was significantly increased. The Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) analysis also indicated that the control mice and neotame-treated mice have different metabolic patterns and some key genes such as butyrate synthetic genes were decreased. Moreover, neotame consumption also changed the fecal metabolite profiles. Dramatically, the concentrations of multiple fatty acids, lipids as well as cholesterol in the feces of neotame-treated mice were consistently higher than controls. Other metabolites, such as malic acid and glyceric acid, however, were largely decreased. In conclusion, our study first explored the specific effects of neotame on mouse gut microbiota and the results may improve our understanding of the interaction between gut microbiome and neotame and how this interaction could influence the normal metabolism of host bodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sugar Substitutes and Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome)

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