For a considerable amount of time now, the adverse effects of sugar have been made aware to the world and suddenly everybody has been moving towards a healthier lifestyle. This had led to the increased use of artificial or chemically synthesized sweeteners which although reducing the sugar content in the food, still increase the chances of harmful diseases and increase in the cholesterol level in the blood due to their chemical nature, if consumed in excess. Today we discuss what these are and how much can you consume without causing any real harm to yourself.
The British nutrition foundation has made a short film regarding these low calorie sweeteners to answer these questions. To put a definition to the term, low calorie sweeteners are sweetening ingredients that not only contain fewer calories and harmful complex carbohydrates but help in sweetening food and also beverages while maintaining the low calorie count. These artificial sweeteners include substances like Aspartame which is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener. The Aspartame is known to cause poisoning to people suffering with genetic phenylkitunoria.
Another common artificial sweetener used in many households and products across the globe is Acesulfame-K which is around 200 times sweeter than regular household cane sugar. Despite sounding dangerous, the Ace-k is considered to be safe for general use as it is stable under heat unlike Aspartame. Finally the most commonly used artificial sweetener is sucralose which is around 320 to 1000 times stronger than household sugar. As sucralose is a non-nutritive natural sweetener, it’s not as harmful as compared to its chemical counterparts.
Apart from these there are also a lot of general side effects caused by artificial low calorie sweeteners. A major one is that continuous use of artificial sweeteners reduce increase our tolerance to sweet food and in turn, regular users tend to consume more sweet food than they should. Another related side effect is that because of regular use, the consumer tends to get used to the taste and the sweetness level of these sweeteners and this means that they don’t find regularly sweetened foods such as fruits appetizing and other substances like vegetables become completely inedible. This shift in the natural lifestyle can harm us in more ways that we can imagine.
Throughout the years, consumers and governments have remained unsure about the use of these artificial sweeteners and these have also been subject to a lot of political protests in violation of safety hazards. The doubt over their regular use still remains even though they have been subjected to research and authorities like the Food and Drug administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have declared them safe to use. So it is up to us as consumers to make the right choice for us. Either we can choose to stick with regular sugar and face the constant threat of diabetes and obesity, or we can move towards artificial sweeteners and help reduce the chance of diabetes but increase the possibility of never living a regular and healthy lifestyle again. Maybe the best way is to find a balance and compromise.