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HWLH News Letter for May 2022- Issue #0102 - Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?
May 01, 2022
|Welcome to HWLH News Letter
May 2022 - #102 - Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?
Welcome Everyone and Happy Spring Time in May
Many of us love and rely on our zero calorie drinks and sweets that have been made with sugar substitutes because it is a fantastic way to reduce our daily calorie intake. There is no question about that fact.
Sugar substitutes are extremely low in calories (some are totally calorie free) and can be either chemical or plant based in structure.
That is what makes them so fantastic, because they give us the option to enjoy a sweet beverage or dessert with minimal calories, BUT ARE THEY SAFE?
For the most part “we the people” I believe feel pretty confident that the foods that we buy in the stores are safe. After all, the products that we eat or drink are approved by the FDA to be safe for consumption before they can be sold, right?
Well that is for the most part true, but when it comes to artificial sweeteners there is a little bit of a grey area.
The FDA regulates high intensity sweeteners as a food additive; unless it is used as a sweetener then it is (GRAS) which means it is generally recognized as safe. This means that some sweeteners are approved and others are considered generally safe.
The sweeteners used as food additives must undergo a review and approval by the FDA before it can be used in the foods we eat.
There have been thousands of studies done on the safety of artificial sweeteners for many years and yes, some studies have shown a negative impact on health including diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. So which studies are right? The ones that show they are safe or the ones that say they cause us health issues?
Well according to the National Cancer Institute they state there is no direct evidence to say that sugar substitutes cause any serious health problems at all and that the bottom line is that sweeteners are safe for most people when used in moderation.
We know that the FDA believes that all the sweeteners on the market are either safe or generally safe for consumption, again when used in moderation.
In other words, when it comes to the food products we buy, they are only as safe as the quality job the FDA has done by testing and approving only those items that shouldn't pose any health threats to us, the consumer.
Artificial sweeteners are in huge demand and are a multibillion dollar industry.
And it's no wonder because they offer a great way for us to still enjoy the sweetness of foods and beverages while decreasing our daily calorie intake. A genius concept if you ask me. Another plus is that artificial sugar substitutes do not contribute to tooth decay and obesity like regular sugar does.
These artificial sweeteners are found in an abundance of products available today. These "sugar free" products are found in chewing gum, soft drinks, juices, baked goods, yogurt, candy, ice cream and so many more products.
Fact or Fiction
Artificial sugar substitutes give you cancer? - Fiction
According to the National Cancer Institute there is no concrete evidence that proves that artificial sweeteners present any health problems at all and that includes developing cancer. So far studies show that these sweeteners are safe when consumed in moderate amounts.
Sugar substitutes can cause weight gain? - Fiction
The latest accusation is that sugar substitutes can cause weight gain. Though many have stated that their tests show this to be true, no real evidence yet has been provided proving this to be true.
These zero calorie substitutes can help decrease daily calorie intake, which has helped many people achieve weight loss.
Can be a useful sugar alternative for people living with diabetes.
Saccharin was the very first artificial sweetener and was discovered in 1879 by accident by a chemistry assistant called Fahlberg. By 1917 the use of this sweetener sky rocketed in America and Europe.
So here are some popular artificial sweeteners that we are using today:
Splenda is the leading sweetener used in the U.S. today. It is derived from sugar and offers an almost calorie free solution. It was discovered in 1976 and approved by the United States government in 1998.
Though a 1 gram packet of Splenda actually contains 3.36 kilocalories, it can still be legally labelled as zero calories due to the FDA regulations that a food containing less than 5 calories per serving can be labelled as a zero calorie food.
Splenda can be used as a sugar substitute that can replace sugar in cooking and baking. Though this type of sugar cannot be caramelized it offers the same sweetness as sugar does without any artificial after taste.
Truvia seems to be the latest trend when it comes to sweeteners. Its ingredients are erythritol (a sugar alcohol which is naturally found in fruits), extracts from the stevia leaf and natural flavors.
Truvia has become so popular that it has become the second best selling sugar substitute, but Splenda still remains the number one selling artificial sweetener sold for now.
The main misconception of this tabletop sweetener is that it is all natural which is not true. Though it does use some natural ingredients it is still highly processed like the others.
Because this sweetener contains sugar alcohols it can cause some gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, cramping, and diarrhea if eaten in large quantities. Contains virtually zero calories and is found in diet drinks and some foods such as yogurt.
Truvia got its FDA approval in 2008. However, some UCLA toxicologists wrote a letter to the FDA stating that some of their lab tests showed that Truvia may cause mutations and DNA damage and they feel that further testing of the sweetener should be done. So until further testing is done consume Truvia in moderation.
Sweet'N Low (Saccharin):
Has zero calories and is found in drinks, candy and canned goods.
Some people avoid saccharin due to an old study. Studies using rats back in the early 1970's found that there may be a link between saccharin consumption and bladder cancer.
More studies have been done since then leading up to the conclusion that due to the lack of evidence there is no proof whatsoever that saccharin causes cancer in humans.
Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol (Sugar alcohols):
Sugar alcohols contain approximately 2.4 kcal per gram and is found in sugar free items such as candies, chewing gum and a variety of desserts.
Eating large amounts of this sweetener may cause stomach bloating and diarrhea.
Equal, NutraSweet (Aspartame):
Has zero calories and is found in some foods such as yogurt, drinks, gum and cough drops.
Amongst all the sweeteners listed there has been more focus and research done on Aspartame than the others.
Some older studies have labeled this sweetener as a culprit that can cause cancer.
Aspartame was approved safe by the FDA in 1981 and more studies state that aspartame consumption in moderation is perfectly safe.
Neotame has zero calories and was approved by the FDA in 2002.
It is found in a variety of foods and drinks such as desserts and fruit juices.
More information can be found on all of these products on the FDA website.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS SHOULD BE USED IN MODERATION
Since we know that the first sweetener was created in the late 1800's and became popular by the year 1917 it is pretty safe to say we have had countless years to investigate the safety of this product.
I think artificial sugars are great. They sweeten up our lives without increasing our daily calorie intake and have been deemed safe as long as they are used in moderation.
Not to put a damper on things but we must keep in mind that the cleaner we eat and drink the easier it is on our bodies. With that being said we must remember that many of these artificial sweeteners are chemicals that are manmade, so again moderation is the key.
Wishing you all health and happiness
Until next time
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