Dylan MacKay, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Chronic Disease

Food and Human Nutritional Sciences/Internal Medicine-Endocrinology
University of Manitoba

Dylan MacKay is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Chronic Disease in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Internal Medicine Section Endocrinology at the University of Manitoba. He has a background in Human Nutritional Sciences, with training and experience in clinical trials and patient-oriented research. He is also a person who lives with type 1 diabetes. His work concentrates primarily on glucose metabolism, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. He also has a strong personal connection with type 1 diabetes research in which he is both a researcher and a person with lived experience partner.

Microbiome – pathway through which sweeteners affect metabolism

The title is missing the question mark at the end! While non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) were once believed to be inert by some, the field of microbiome research has essentially shown that everything we consume can change the gut microbiome, providing a potential mechanism through which NNS may be having an impact on metabolism. Like many of the other outcomes that have been explored in relation to NNS, the fact that NNS are a diverse class of compounds with different chemical structures is challenge because it is likely that they will individually have distinct impacts on the gut microbiome, which then need to be investigated in terms of their potential links to the NNS purported metabolism effects. This presentation will explore evidence, with a focus on human clinical trials, that supports (or doesn’t support) modification of the gut microbiome as the mechanism by which (NNS) affect metabolism (if they do that). Key Points: Most of the evidence linking NNS to changes in the gut microbiome and metabolism are from animal models. The human evidence linking NNS consumption to changes in the gut microbiome and changes in glucose metabolism is very limited and suffers from issues related to “personalization”. The type of randomized controlled trials needed to advance this area of research will be challenging and likely cost prohibitive without significant collaboration of effort in terms of goals and funding.