Artificial sweeteners are low- or no-caloric sugar substitutes that provide little nutritional value, but then modify the flavor of foods or beverages so that they become more appealing to the consumer. Brand names in this category include Splenda, NutraSweet, and Sweet’ N Low. The most common products in this category are sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, neotame, and acesulfame potassium.
Sucralose currently holds the status as the most common sugar substitute used in the world today for foods and beverages, holding 30% of the global artificial sweetener market. Estimates project the value of this product to be about $3 billion by the year 2022.
Although sugar of lead was used in the Medieval era as a sweetener before its toxic effects were known, the first modern artificial sweetener was saccharin. It was first synthesized in 1879, creating during an experiment with toluene derivatives. Saccharin does cause cancer in high doses in rats, but this occurs through a mechanism that is not present in humans. In 2001, the United States repealed a warning label requirement for it.
If you are looking for a way to cut back on your sugar intake, these are the benefits you need to know
1. Artificial sweeteners may be derived from natural substances.
Although an artificial sweetener is a synthetic sugar substitute, it can be made from naturally occurring substances from the environment around us. Herbs and even the sugar plants themselves can become the foundation of these items. Since they tend to be much sweeter than an actual sugar product, they are an attractive alternative for those who need to watch their intake levels thanks to a diabetes diagnosis, weight concerns, or other medical needs. That’s because almost every artificial sweetener adds virtually no calories to your diet.
2. You can use artificial sweeteners in almost anything.
Artificial sweeteners are found in many processed foods because they react in a similar manner as sugar does during the baking, canning, or packaging process. You will find them in candies, baked goods, canned foods, jams, jellies, and several dairy products. They are commonly found in sweet carbonated drinks, drink mixes, and other beverages as well. Some products that contain these sweeteners might be listed as a “diet” product, but that is not a free license to over-consume.
Even though artificial sweeteners have a minimal caloric presence, they can cause an imbalance of alcohols through digestion that can make your stomach hurt with regular consumption. “You may not think you eat a lot of corn and soy beans, but you do,” says author Michael Pollan. “75% of the vegetable oils in your diet come from soy, representing 20% of your daily calories, and more than half of the sweeteners you consume come from corn, representing 10% of your daily calories.”
By choosing an artificial sweetener, you can eliminate potentially 10% of your unnecessary calories almost immediately.
3. This sugar substitute can help people to control their weight.
Artificial sweeteners have virtually no calories to them, even if you consume them in significant amounts. If you compare this advantage to the 16 calories per teaspoon that you receive when eating a sugar-containing product, then you can quickly reduce the levels that you consume every day by making this one change. If a can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, then that is 160 calories which are added to your diet. Replacing that with an artificially sweetened products can help you get a start on the health changes that you need, even if the long-term benefits of the switch are not fully clear.
4. It is an effective product to use for people with diabetes.
It is essential to note that artificial sweeteners are not carbohydrates. Unlike a traditional sugar, these products will not usually raise blood sugar levels during consumption. If you have received a diagnosis of diabetes, then you will want to talk with your doctor about this product and other options that can support your ongoing health needs. Replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener is only one step toward better health and wellness, as diet and exercise are often needed as well.
5. Artificial sweeteners could support better oral health.
The consumption of sugar plays a significant role in the development of tooth decay, cavities, and other issues with oral health. By removing the sweetener that can encourage bacterial growth and plaque along the gum line, it is possible to reduce the adverse impacts that you’re eating and drinking habits can create overtime.
Dental agencies across the United States promote the use of Xylitol in products because it offers an anti-cariogenic effect. There is evidence to suggest that this option when compared to those that produce sugar alcohols can prevent tooth decay by killing the bacteria which can harm your teeth. There are no concerns about de-mineralization of your teeth with this ingredient either.
6. There is less adverse chemical exposure when using artificial sweeteners.
When you are consuming artificial sweeteners, then you are eating something that does not contain artificial pesticides or herbicides to promote the growth of a crap like sugarcane. You can experience this advantage if you purchase organic sugar products at the grocery store as well. Although there will always be issues with health and wellness if you do not consume items in moderation, the positive attributes that you will find with saccharin, sucralose, and similar products will usually outweigh whatever disadvantages may occur.
7. You have several different options from which to choose.
There are four common artificial sweeteners which you can find in most grocery stores today. All of them are priced competitively with a traditional sugar product, but all of them are also sweeter in comparison.
Acesulfame-K is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is found under the Sweet One and Sunett brand names.
Aspartame is 180 times sweeter, and you can find it as Equal or NutraSweet.
Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar, selling under the names Sugar Twin, Sweet Twin, and Sweet ‘N Low.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter and sells as Splenda.
NutraSweet also produces an artificial sweetener that goes by the name of neotame or E961. It was approved for use in 2002, but it still is not widely available in food products. This product can be up to 13,000 times sweeter than standard sucrose.
8. Artificial sweeteners are available in a variety of size options.
Most manufacturers of artificial sweeteners are making their products available today in a manner that is similar to table sugar. You can also find the colored packets which are available for individual servings at your local supermarket, restaurants, or another favorite place to eat. Quantities are available in sizes up to 10 pounds in some geographic locations.
That means you can take your preferred artificial sweetener home with you for cooking, or to add sweetness to almost anything.