Skip to main content
Natural and Artificial Sweeteners contribute to an increase in inflammation in Macrophages
Science and Techonology Undergraduate Research Notes (SATURN) Journal (2014)
  • Andrea Sookchan
  • John Braun
  • Layleeta Prasad
  • Viviana Buitrago
  • Melissa Olman
  • Mary Kusenda, Molloy College
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners (AS) constitute a large part of the American diet and can be found in numerous food products and beverages at exceedingly high levels (Ng et al., 2012; Gardner et al., 2012). Prior research has shown that overconsumption of sweeteners can lead to illnesses such as diabetes (Gardner et al., 2012; Hu et al., 2010), heart disease (Gardner et al., 2012; Cohen et al., 2012), and obesity (Hu et al., 2010; Feijo et al., 2013). A major underlying factor of these health issues is increased chronic inflammation caused by sweeteners (Shoelson et al., 2007). We conducted assays to determine three indicators of inflammation: increased chemotaxis by white blood cells (Coelho et al., 2006), excess nitric oxide (NO) production, and cell death via apoptosis(Secco et al., 2004). We determined the level of inflammation triggered by three artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose) and five natural sweeteners (sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, erythritol, and dextrose) using a macrophage cell line (LADMAC) by measuring the occurrence and magnitude of the three conditions above. We hypothesized that excess sweeteners would cause increased inflammation. Our results demonstrated that the majority of sweeteners did result in an increase in inflammation; however erythritol (Truvia) demonstrated low levels of inflammation. Intake of both sugars and artificial sweeteners should be kept at a minimum to maintain optimum health and reduce the risk of inflammation and its resulting diseases. Our results contribute to the global momentum aimed at changing policy to regulate or reduce the consumption of sweetened beverages and food at the local, state, and national level. 
  • Inflammation,
  • artificial sweeteners,
  • sugar substitutes,
  • chemotaxis,
  • nitric oxide
Publication Date
August, 2014
Citation Information
Andrea Sookchan, John Braun, Layleeta Prasad, Viviana Buitrago, et al.. "Natural and Artificial Sweeteners contribute to an increase in inflammation in Macrophages" Science and Techonology Undergraduate Research Notes (SATURN) Journal Vol. 3 Iss. 1 (2014) p. 62 - 73 ISSN: 2328-3092
Available at: