Artificial Sweeteners-Guilt free indulgence or caution ? Myths and Realities.

It has been globally accepted that sweetness is the first sensation that human beings get accustomed Artificial Sweetenersto.As infants and kids our initial journey of solid foods started from mashed fruits with other savory flavors touched our taste buds much later.Human body has an unique likeness for sugars as they provide robust and instant energy in form of ready carbohydrates but this ability of human body has also augmented a big role to some ill lifestyle diseases like diabetes,cardio vascular diseases,etc. Refined and granulated sugar is nothing short of poison to the body.

The world of artificial sweeteners or low calorie sweeteners,  is more than 150years old with its first  launched way back in 1879,Industry boomed like anything until 1970 when side-effects began immerging or people noticed effects. A study on saccharin with laboratory grown rats suggested of bladder cancer and saccharin was banned for few days but then restrictions were lifted as detailed studies at many centers claiming it to be safe for health.  A sugar substitute is a chemically made compound  to replace the sugar but mimic the sweetness .

A form of artificial sweeteners  are known as alcohol-sugar or polyols- a misleading description as they are neither alcohol nor sugar but are carbohydrates found naturally in many fruits and now being artificially synthesize .Polyols are a good substitute to sugar as they are metabolized in the body at a very slow rate and is 33% sweeter then sugar thus help in the maintenance  of blood sugar levels and diabetes,etc.

  • Xylitol.
  • Sorbitol.

A controlled study conducted by the Calorie Control Council in 1998 estimated that 144 million American adults routinely use low-calorie, sugar-free products such as desserts and artificially sweetened sodas. These chemical sweeteners are 100% to 600% times more sweeter then sugar .The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners:

  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
  • Aspartame (Sugar-free or NutraSweet or Equal)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • D-Tagatose (Sugaree)
  • Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)

A new generation of artificial sweetener has been launched some time back  Stevia- a natural sweetener, though Japanese studies done over the period of 20 years have shown it to be safe , FDA has not approved  for want of further studies ,thus stevia is sold as a food supplement – a unregulated market void of tough regulations and no guarantee of purity.

There are tall claims on either side to artificial sweeteners, there had been studies ever since concept of artificial sweeteners was coined but remained inconclusive for want of further reports. There are unconfirmed studies suggesting cancer,cardio-vascular diseases,kidney derangement to name a few but then there are studies which suggest that all artificial sweeteners undergo robust scrutiny and are absolutely safe .Problem arises when people start eating everything which has artificial sweeteners forgetting that this swap may return in form of refined carbohydrates and low quality fat.

I would like to end this never ending debate by using a very old grandma’s saying” Excess of everything and anything is bad” so artificial sweeteners should be used moderately and only by people who are diabetics or obese wanting to control calorie intake ,do inform your doctor or nutritionist before initiating or changing any sweeteners.

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