Sugar is a leading contributor to various diseases including diabetes and obesity. If you are looking for a sugar alternative, most people consider replacing sugar and start using artificial sweetenersAre Artificial Sweeteners Considered Healthy?. These days hundreds of food and beverages have turned to using artificial sweeteners, and they are typically marked as “diet” or “sugar-free” versions. As a consumer, it is important that you understand the potential impact that artificial sweeteners have on your health.
According to a report from the American Diabetes Association, nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. These diseases have doubled over the past two decades despite aggressive campaigns that promote the dangers of metabolic-related diseases. This is the reason why people make the switch to artificial sweeteners and they are considered a good alternative to regular sugar.
Defining Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar substitute is considered to be any sweetener that you use instead of the regular table sugar (sucrose). When it comes to sugar substitutes, the topic can be confusing because of terminology that some companies use to name their products. For example, some manufacturers call their sweeteners “natural” when it fact it is refined or processed such as stevia. Nevertheless, regardless of how these artificial sugars are made or where they come from, they are not magic bullets to weight loss.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. They are typically derived from natural substances like herbs (stevia) and sugar itself. These artificial products are also known as intense sweeteners because they are usually many times sweeter compared to regular sugar.
Artificial Sweeteners Uses
Many food and beverages use artificial sweeteners as an alternative sweetening product because unlike sugar they do not add any calories to your diet. Also, you only need a small amount of the substance than what you would’ve normally used for regular sugar. This product is used in processed foods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, puddings, candies, jams, jellies, and canned goods. At home, it can be used for cooking, baking, or just like a regular table sugar.
Health Benefits of Artificial Sugar
- Avoid Tooth Decay – using artificial sugar means you do not have to worry about tooth decay and cavities, which are common consequences of using regular sugar.
- Weight Control – artificial sugars do not have any nutritional value, they provide 0 calories. This makes a good substitute to regular table sugar which is about 4 calories every 4 grams.
- Diabetes – artificial sweeteners were marketed as a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are proven not to increase blood sugar level.
Possible Health Problems that Artificial Sugars May Cause
Since it was first released in the market, artificial sugars have been a subject of numerous investigations and scrutiny. Critics of these sweeteners say that these can cause a myriad of health problems including cancer. This is most likely because of different studies in the 1970s which linked saccharin to bladder cancer in laboratory rats. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, as well as, other health organizations, there is no scientific evidence that these artificial sweeteners can cause cancer. In fact, studies suggest that these sweeteners are safe in small quantities.
Nonetheless, all artificial sweeteners that you find in the grocery aisle are regulated by the FDA as food additives. FDA has declared that artificial sugars are GRAS – generally recognized as safe. In addition, FDA has also established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each of these artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sugars are cleared by the FDA to be safe for consumption. Nevertheless, it is always good to be careful with your health when it comes anything that you eat or drink. The key is always in moderation if you are using artificial sweeteners or real sugar.