Artificial Sweeteners

The average American consumes about 125 pounds of sweeteners per year. Whether you are diabetic or are just watching your calorie intake, artificial sweeteners can help you achieve your goals.

Saccharin (Sweet n’ Low®)

Saccharin was the first man-made sugar substitute. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and is very stable. This means it helps food products stay fresher longer. It is also used as a tabletop sweetener.

In 1977, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a ban on saccharin. This was done because saccharin was shown to promote tumor growth in laboratory animals.

But the dose given to laboratory animals was much larger than any dose a person could consume. In fact, it would be the same as drinking 850 cans of diet soda in one day.

Saccharin is now believed to be safe.

The National Cancer Institute recently conducted a study using over 9,000 people. The study concluded there was no increased risk in using artificial sweeteners (saccharin and cyclamate) for a long period of time.

Aspartame (Nutri-Sweet® or Equal®)

This sweetener is the current favorite because it has a sweet flavor without an aftertaste. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

The FDA has found aspartame to be safe for the general public, diabetics, pregnant and nursing women, and for children.

Pregnant and nursing women should always follow their doctor’s advice. But aspartame is not for everyone.

People who suffer from phenylketonuria (FEN-uhl-KEY-toe-NUR-ee-uh) (PKU), a metabolic disease, must control their intake of phenylalanine (FEN-uhl-AL-ahneen). Since aspartame contains phenylalanine, aspartame products must carry a warning label.

Aspartame is not recommended for cooking. When heated it breaks down and loses its sweet taste. However, it may be added toward the end of cooking time for many recipes.

Acesulfame K or Acesulfame Potassium (Sunette®)

Acesulfame K (ah-SUL-fah-me KAY) has been used in a variety of foods in the U. S. since 1988. It is a calorie-free sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It retains its sweetness at normal baking temperatures.

Like saccharin, it is also used to keep food products fresher longer.

The results of several long-term studies have shown that acesulfame K will not cause cancer. It is also reported to be safe for pregnant women.

The body absorbs acesulfame K, but it is not metabolized, or processed. Instead it is quickly eliminated from the body unchanged.

Patients with kidney disease or in renal failure should limit intake of potassium.

Sucralose (Splenda®)

Sucralose is the newest non-caloric sweetener to be approved for limited use by the FDA.

It is about 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the only sweetener made from sugar. It has a sugar-like texture and appearance.

Sucralose is also not metabolized and is eliminated after consumption.

In addition to the FDA, other health organizations around the world have confirmed the safety of sucralose.

It can also be used for baking because it does not lose its sweetness at normal baking temperatures.

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