An Israeli study was not the first to note this link in animals, but it was the first to find evidence of a plausible cause: the sweeteners appear to change the population of intestinal bacteria that direct metabolism, the conversion of food to energy or stored fuel
Gordon believes something similar occurs in obese humans. He found that the proportion of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes bacteria increases as fat people lose weight through either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet. Stanford University microbiologist David Relman says this finding suggests that the bacteria in the human gut may not only influence our ability to extract calories and store energy from our diet but also have an impact on the balance of hormones, such as leptin, that shape our very eating behavior, leading some of us to eat more than others in any given situation.
The Israeli researchers agree that it is far too soon to conclude that artificial sweeteners cause metabolic disorders, but they and other scientists are convinced that at least one—saccharin—has a significant effect on the balance of microbes in the human gut.