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All About Artificial Sweeteners & Sugar Substitutes

All About Artificial Sweeteners & Sugar Substitutes
HWC Team
July24/ 2015


Whether you’d like to reduce the sugar intake or cut the calories in your diet, turning to sugar substitutes might be the best solution you have. Today, artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of beverages and foods and are used by many people. But do you know what are the pros and cons of the artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes? In order to help you out, we have listed out few benefits and adverse effects of artificial sweeteners that help you make informed decisions.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that are derived from natural substances including herbs or sugars. These are termed as intense sweeteners because they are sweeter than regular sugar. These are the best alternatives of sugar because they do not add any calories to your diet. Additionally, you need only a fraction when compared to the amount of sugar you use. These are used in processed foods such as soft drinks, candy, puddings, canned foods, dairy products and other beverages.

What are the Health Benefits?

The following are the few benefits of artificial sweeteners:

Controls Weight

Artificial sweeteners are virtually non-nutritive foods, whereas, regular sugar contains four calories. If you are trying to lose or balance your weight, then consuming products containing artificial sweeteners is better instead of going for regular sugar.

Diabetes

Artificial sweeteners can be a good alternative to sugar for diabetic patients. These will not raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates. Few studies revealed that simply using sugar substitutes without cutting down carbohydrates from starchy, sugary foods or fat will not help control your blood sugar or fat levels. So, if you have diabetes it is better to check with your doctor about using any sugar substitutes.

Do Sugar Substitutes Increase Appetite and Food Intake?

Few individuals believe that sugar substitutes increase appetite, which makes it difficult for dieters to lose weight. Few reports have showed that sugar substitutes do not increase their sensation of hunger, appetite or food intake. Generally, aspartame does not cause appetite or food intake in young people.

Other health benefit is that they do not contribute to tooth decay and cavities.

What are the Adverse Effects?

Few critics said that artificial sweeteners can cause a variety of health issues, including cancer.   According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no evidence that any of the approved artificial sweeteners can cause serious health issues. And, various other studies reveal that artificial sweeteners are safe when taken in adequate quantities.

Artificial sweeteners are administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food additives. They should be reviewed and approved by the FDA before being made available for sale. The FDA has specified an acceptance daily intake (ADI) for each artificial sweetener. This is the maximum amount that should be consumed every day over the course of your lifetime.

FDA Acceptable Daily Intake of Common Sugar Substitutes

Artificial Sweetener ADI (mg/kg body weight) Avg mg amount in 112 oz can of diet soda Avg mg amount in 1 packet of sweetener
Acesulfame K 15 40* 50
Aspartame 50 200 35
Saccharin 5 140 40
Sucralose 5 70 5
Stevia 0-4 mg stevia glycoside or 12 mg/kg rebiana   27

 What about Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that are present naturally in certain vegetables and fruits, but can be produced artificially. They are not considered as intense sweeteners because they are not sweeter than sugar. In fact, few are less sweet than sugar. These alcohols are not considered as noncaloric or non-nutritive sweeteners because they consist of calories.

On the other hand, Novel sweeteners are a combination of various types of sweeteners.  Tagatose and trehalose are known as novel sweeteners because of their chemical structure.

Hope you got clear information about pros and cons of artificial sweeteners and Sugar substitutes. So, this information can help you to make informed decisions in life.

HWC Team

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