Glucose, fructose and sucrose sugars can damage the lining of the gut and lead to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as colitis, according to UT Medical Center researchers.
Researchers led by Professor Hasan Zaki from UT Southwestern Medical Center fed mice a drink of water plus 10% sugar solution – glucose, fructose or sucrose – for seven days. Those that were genetically or chemically predisposed to colitis developed the disease much more rapidly if they had received the sugar solution.
In the USA and Canada, 2 million adults had colitis, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2000, with the total hitting 3 million in 15 years later. High sugar in fizzy soft drinks, breakfast cereals, bought fruit juice and smoothies, ice cream, beer, mass market jams, chocolate, biscuits and cake are seen by many to be major contributors to the current plague of chronic illnesses from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
In this study, the researchers used gene sequencing techniques and showed significant changes to the gut microbiome populations in the mice after a week of the sugar solution. In particular, bacteria (Akkermansia muciniphilia and Bacteroidetes fragilis) known to degrade the protective mucous lining of the gut were in much higher levels while ‘good’ bacteria such as Lactobacillus strains had declined in numbers.
The mucous membrane protects the lining of the gut from infiltration by bacteria. A weaker mucous membrane means more infection and inflammation in the lining. Breaching of the epithelial lining is a key step in the gut inflammatory process.
If you have IBS, yeasts are known to be involved; Crohn’s is linked to higher levels of E. coli, which is also linked to UTIs. Both pathogens love sugar.