Artificial Sweeteners….Sweet or Poison?
What types of artificial sweeteners are currently available?
The five FDA-approved nonnutritive sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame. (source)
- Saccharin-saccharin is allowed in most countries. Countries, such as Canada, in which saccharin was previously banned, are reconsidering the ban (source). Saccharin got a bad reputation when, in the 1970s, it was shown that to cause bladder cancer in rodents. It was then required that all food with sacchain must be labeled. (source). This requirement for labeling was removed in 2000 as it became clear that the rodents developed cancer due to the high pH, high calcium phosphate, and high protein levels in their urine which is not found in humans (source) (source). Saccharin is most recognized as Sweet ‘n Low (pink packets) (source). It is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste which is common to most artifical sweetener (source).
- Aspartame-is a an artificial sweetener which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose(table sugar)(source). Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into compounds which include aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol (source) formaldehyde (source) and formic acid. Thus, aspartame must be avoided with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) (source). Food products containing aspartame must be indicated that they contain a source of phenylalanine. Aspartame comes closest to sugar’s taste profile among artificial sweeteners (source). It has been sold as NutraSweet and AminoSweet (source).
- Acesulfame potassium- is an artifical sweetener that is 180-200 times sweeter than sucrose, as sweet as aspartame, about half as sweet as saccharin, and one-quarter as sweet as sucralose. Like most artificial sweetener, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Unlike aspartame, acesulfame K is stable under heat,which allows it to be used in baking. It is marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One (source)
- Sucralose- is an artifical sweetner that is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose,twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3 times as sweet as aspartame. Like, acesulfame potassium, it can be used in baking. It is marketed as Splenda, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren and Nevella. (source).
- Neotame- is an an artificial sweetener that is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose with the common metallic aftertaste. It is marketed as NutraSweet (source)
A no calorie, natural sweetener option is stevia.
Stevia- a sweetner derived from the glycosides of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It was first isolated in the 1970s in Japan. These gycosides can be 40-300 times sweeter than sucrose. Stevia tends to have a slower onset and longer duration of taste than sugar although can be bitter (source).
Updated: Rebiana is the trade name for a zero-calorie sweetener mainly made from rebaudioside A (Reb A) (a naturally produced glycoside). Truvia is the consumer brand for Rebiana (marketed by Cargill and developed jointly with The Coca-Cola Company). PureVia is PepsiCo’s brand of Reb A. Enliten is Corn Products International’s brand of Reb A sweetener.
Next week we will examine what studies have been done recently on artifical sweeteners.
Do you use artifical sweetner? Which do you prefer? Do you worry about the health risks?