The purpose of artificial sweeteners which are many times sweeter than sucrose table sugar is to sweeten foods and beverages using smaller amounts. These sweeteners are an attractive alternative to sugar because they add no calories to the diet, don’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities, and don’t raise blood sugar levels in diabetics because they are not a carbohydrate.
Since I’ve never tried an artificial sweetener I was curious to research and write this post to see if there was a natural choice. I’ve worked hard to minimize my sugar consumption since my college days because of my hypoglycemia diagnosis also called low blood sugar so I rarely get cravings for sugar. My blood sugar count stays balanced too because of my whole foods diet.
Most Common Artificial Sweeteners
[iconbox icon=”Bulls_Eye.png”]Here’s the list of 6 sugar substitutes that are FDA approved for use:[/iconbox]
- Acesulfame Potassium – known as Ace-K, Sweet One®, and Sunett® was approved in 1988 by the FDA for use in specific food and beverage categories and then later approved in 2002 for general purpose sweetener (except in meat and poultry).
- Aspartame – distributed as NutraSweet® and Equal® was approved in 1981 by the FDA. Unlike other sweeteners which are 0 calories this one contains 4 calories per gram.
- Neotame – was approved in 2002 by the FDA as a general purpose sweetener except for the use in meat and poultry. This newer sweetener is rapidly metabolized and excreted.
- Saccharin – known as Sweet’N Low® is the oldest of sugar substitutes dating back 100 years.
- Stevia – known as Truvia® was approved in 2008 by the FDA. This sweetener derived from a small green natural plant native to Paraguay bears leaves with a delicious and refreshing taste and contains protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and several minerals.
- Sucralose – known as Splenda® was approved in 1998 by the FDA as a tabletop sweetener and then later in 1999 as a general purpose sweetener.
[box type=”tick”]Tip: Moderation is key with sugar substitutes. Sugar-free doesn’t mean it’s free of calories so you can still gain weight from the other ingredients calories.[/box]
Cancer and Artificial Sweeteners
Regarding the question of whether one or more of the available “sugar substitutes” causes increased cancer risk, The National Cancer Institute made this summary statement:
“There is no clear evidence that the artificial sweeteners on the market in the United States are related to cancer risk in humans.”
You can read more details about studies on each of the marketed sugar substitutes at the National Cancer Institute’s website listed in the “Additional Reading & Resources” section.
Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act passed by Congress in 1958 requires the FDA to approve food additives before they can be available for sale in the United States.
[box type=”tick”]Tip: Did you know that artificial sweeteners are 200 or more times sweeter than sugar? Do you use more sweetener packets than sugar because its calorie free?[/box]
Artificial Sweeteners: Questions for You
- Do you use artificial sweeteners?
- Which one do you use and why?
- Would a cancer risk cause you to quit using artificial sweeteners?
- Is it time to use a natural artificial sweetener like Stevia?
List of resources, all worth checking out.
Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes from MayoClinic.com
Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer from Cancer.gov
Artificial Sweeteners: Reduce, Replace and Renew from DrOz.com
Comparison Chart Stevia and Other Sweeteners from Stevia.com
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Cheers to a Healthy Day!