Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes
Artificial Sweetener - Aspartame
Aspartame use is associated with many health concerns, such as the possible cause of the following conditions:
Aspartame is generally considered low in calories (4 calories/g), and it is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, and it is used as a substitute for sugar in many foods and drinks, including: chewing gum, soft drinks and low-sugar cereals.
What is the truth about the safety of using aspartame as a type of artificial sweetener?
The issue of the use of aspartame as an alternative to sugar began to stir controversy since it was approved for use by many European countries in 1980. A 1996 report indicated a relationship between the use of aspartame and the development of brain tumors, but this study was not strong enough.
Several studies have since come out that say aspartame is safe for human consumption. In a 2006 study conducted at the US National Cancer Institute on nearly half a million people, in which they compared those who drank aspartame-containing drinks to those who did not, it was found that aspartame does not increase the risks of leukemia, lymphoma and brain cancer.
In 2013, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence and data on the use of aspartame, concluding that it is safe for human consumption, including pregnant women and children.
Aspartame is digested and broken down into several components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. That is why we especially warn patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) against eating foods that contain aspartame.
The permissible daily amount of it: 40 mg / kg of body weight.
The artificial sweetener saccharin
Saccharin is one of the oldest types of artificial sweeteners that appeared in the United States of America in 1879, and it is 300-400 times sweeter than regular sugar, and it has a bitter or metallic taste in nature.
It is used in the manufacture of a wide range of foods and beverages, including baked goods and chewing gum. Saccharin is also used in the manufacture of some cosmetics and medical preparations such as: lip gloss, toothpaste, mouthwash, some vitamins and medicines. Usually, saccharin is not digested and broken down into molecules, but it is slowly absorbed in the digestive system and then excreted quickly and unchanged through the kidneys.
What is the truth about the safety of using saccharin as a type of artificial sweetener?
In 1977, the Canadian government banned the use of saccharin and prevented its addition to food, after it was suspected of causing bladder cancer in mice, and the US government also warned of a relationship between it and the occurrence of cancer. Since then, numerous studies have refuted these hypotheses, and after a full evaluation of the existing evidence in 1999, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that saccharin is not carcinogenic to humans.
Hence, in a re-evaluation by the European Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) on the safety of saccharin in 1995, it was concluded that it poses no carcinogenic risk to humans.
But the ban on the use of saccharin in Canada continues so far, and many specialists express reservations about its use, and it is forbidden to use it for infants, children and pregnant women for fear of an allergic reaction to it, despite the lack of evidence to support this.
The permissible daily amount of it: 5 mg / kg of body weight.
Artificial sweetener - Sorbitol
Sorbitol is a low-calorie sweetener derived from glucose and is available as a powder or liquid. Sorbitol is found naturally in some foods such as: apples, pears, prunes, apricots and some dried fruits such as raisins and prunes.
Sorbitol is similar in appearance to regular sugar, but it is 60% sweeter than sugar and contains 30% fewer calories. One gram of sorbitol gives approximately 2.6 calories, compared to 4 calories given by one gram of regular sugar.
Possible harms of the artificial sweetener sorbitol
It is worth noting that eating 50 grams of sorbitol daily may cause diarrhea, flatulence and gas.
Sorbitol is commonly used as a substitute for sugar in many foods, including low-calorie and sugar-free foods, as well as oral health medicines and preparations, such as toothpaste and chewing gum, and is used in the production of sweets, baked goods and chocolate.
Acesulfame K artificial sweetener
Acesulfame K or acesulfame-potassium is a zero-calorie sugar substitute that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and similar in sweetness to aspartame. There are many foods and drinks that Acesulfame K enters into, such as: chewing gum, jam, dairy products, frozen sweets, beverages and various baked goods.
During digestion, acesulfame K is not broken down in the digestive system into molecules and is not stored as well, but is absorbed and eliminated as is and quickly.
What is the truth about the safety of using acesulfame as a type of artificial sweetener?
It has been approved for use in the European Union and the United States of America. However, there are many criticisms that still point to it, calling for more studies and research on the effects of its use on health.
The permissible daily amount of it: 9 mg / kg of body weight.
Artificial sweetener sucralose
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener and zero-calorie sugar substitute derived from sucrose, which is approximately 650 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is used as a sweetener in many foods, beverages, and drinks
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