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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a systemic and wide-spread disease characterized by accumulation of excess fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. Artificial sweeteners (ASs) or sugar substitutes are food additives that provide a sweet taste, and are also known as low-calorie or non-calorie sweeteners. Recently people consume increasingly more ASs to reduce their calorie intake. Gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem where 1014 microorganisms play several roles in host nutrition, bone mineralization, immune system regulation, xenobiotics metabolism, proliferation of intestinal cells, and protection against pathogens. A disruption in composition of the normal microbiota is known as ‘gut dysbiosis’ which may adversely affect body metabolism. It has recently been suggested that dysbiosis may contribute to the occurrence of NAFLD. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of ASs on the risk of NAFLD. The focus of this review is on microbiota changes and dysbiosis. Increasing evidence shows that ASs have a potential role in microbiota alteration and dysbiosis. We speculate that increased consumption of ASs can further raise the prevalence of NAFLD. However, further human studies are needed to determine this relationship definitively.
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