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A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic.

Alternative sweeteners are highly consumed in America. According to research studies explained by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in 2003–2004, Americans two years of age and older consumed 585g per day of beverages and 375g per day of foods with caloric sweeteners. Some commonly consumed foods with alternative sweeteners are diet sodas, cereals, and sugar-free desserts such as ice cream.

In the United States, seven intensely sweet sugar substitutes have been approved for use. They are stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame. The food and beverage industry is increasingly replacing sugar or corn syrup with artificial sweeteners in a range of products traditionally containing sugar.

Aspartame: Aspartame is a methyl ester. More than 6,000 products contain aspartame. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar. The FDA reviewed its safety in 2007 and concluded that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a nonnutritive sweetener. However, people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria

PKU cannot ingest it. And pregnant women shouldn’t since they have been linked to premature births. In a study done in 1979, the effect of aspartame ingestion on blood and milk amino acid levels in lactating women was tested and found a small effect on the milk aspartate levels. The consumer advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest continues to promote the position that aspartame is not safe.

Sucralose/Splenda:Splenda is twice as sweet as saccharin and three times as sweet as aspartame. The actual energy content of a single-serving (1-g packet) of Splenda is 3.36 kilocalories, 31% of those of a granulated sugar (10.8 kcal). In the United States, it is legally labelled “zero calories”. Some studies have determined that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound, having possible toxic effects, including creation of dioxin-like compounds when sucralose is heated.

Saccharine: Saccharin was produced first in 1878. It is 300 times as sweet as sucrose or table sugar, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. The basic substance is benzoic sulfilimine. Studies have shown saccharine causes bladder cancer is rats, which eventually prompted safety warnings on products containing saccharine. However, in 2001, the FDA reversed its position, declaring it safe for consumption.

Neotame: The chemical formula is similar to aspartame, but it is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). It’s the only artificial sweetener deemed “safe” by the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Truvia: Truvía’s ingredients are erythritol. The calorie-free, low-carb sweetener comes from the shrub-like stevia plant. This sugar substitute is about 100 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA first rejected it in the 1990s for use as a food ingredient. High dosages fed to rats affected reproduction. But in 2008 the FDA granted stevia “GRAS” status, meaning it is “generally recognized as safe.”

Comparison of sweetness based on energy content is not meaningful because many artificial sweeteners have little or no food energy.

Name Sweetness (by weight) Trade name Approval Notes
Acesulfame potassium 200 Nutrinova FDA 1988 E950
Advantame 20,000 FDA
Alitame 2,000 approved in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and China. Pfizer
Aspartame 160–200 NutraSweet, Equal FDA 1981, EU-wide 1994 E951
Salt of aspartame-acesulfame 350 Twinsweet E962
sodium cyclamate 30 FDA Banned 1969, approved in EU E952, Abbott
Dulcin 250 FDA Banned 1950
Glucin 300
Neohesperidin dihydrochalcone 1,500 E959
Neotame 8,000 NutraSweet FDA 2002 E961
P-4000 4,000 FDA banned 1950
Saccharin 300 Sweet’N Low FDA 1958 E954
Sucralose 600 Kaltame, Splenda Canada 1991, FDA 1998, EU 2004 E955, Tate & Lyle

Animal studies have indicated that a sweet taste induces an insulin response in rats.

A 2014 study by a collaboration from nine Israeli research institutes presented experimental evidence that artificial sweeteners may exacerbate, rather than prevent, metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes.

Source: Wikipedia

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QUESTION: Doctor: You often say avoid “Added Sugar”. It is bad for a growing child. What is your view about Products made with sugar substitutes? How about Diet Soda? Which sugar substitute is good for my child?


Children generally love sugary foods, and chances are the processed or packaged food your child eats has some amount of added sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released new guidelines limiting the amount of added sugar considered acceptable for a healthy diet. Per AHA,

  • Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn’t consume any more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day.
  • Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day.
  • As your child grows into his teen years, his caloric range increases to 1,800 to 2,000 a day, and the maximum amount of added sugar included in his daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons.

However the reality per AHA study is

  • children as young as 1-3 years typically consume around 12 teaspoons of sugar a day!!
  • By the time a child is 4-8 years old, his sugar consumption skyrockets to an average of 21 teaspoons a day!

Obesity rates tripled in 30 years, and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among children more than doubled in the last 2 decades of the twentieth century. Many children drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than milk. Sugar-sweetened beverages represent the largest category of daily caloric intake (7%–12%) for many demographic groups. Evidence suggests that increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages raises weight and obesity rates.

This is why I recommend against “Added Sugar” in your child’s diet.

Now let’s look at Sugar Substitutes

Sugar substitutes provide sweetness to food without the calories of sugar. The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved one natural low-calorie sweetener, stevia. How the human body and brain respond to these sweeteners is very complex. Of the above only Stevia is a natural sweetener. But just because something is natural does not always mean that it is safer. Sugar substitutes are found in most of the “light,” “reduced calorie” or “sugar-free” foods and drinks available today.

As the name says, Sugar substitutes are just as the name says – chemicals masquerading as sugar!

What does research say?:

  • Research suggests that Sugar substitutes may prevent us from associating sweetness with caloric intake. As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and gain weight.
  • Animal studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may be addictive. In studies of rats who were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between intravenous cocaine or oral saccharine, most chose saccharin.
  • Aspartame is also often anecdotally linked to brain disorders based on small animal studies, but human studies have not shown an association.
  • A lot of studies show that diet soda is linked with being overweight but there isn’t a clear answer as to why.

Due to limited studies in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has no official recommendations regarding the use of noncaloric sweeteners.

So the best advice I can give is probably to

  • avoid artificial chemicals in general (which is high in processed food);
  • limit both regular and diet soda consumption for optimal health, especially for children.

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Research done at U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012 found men, women and children who were exposed to phthalates (endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and some hygiene products) tended to have lower blood testosterone levels. Over the past 50 years researchers have identified a trend of declining testosterone in men and an increase in related health issues.

TAKEAWAY: Avoid plastic containers and any food wrapped in plastic

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The last thing we, Pediatrician, recommend are additives and artificial chemical laden carbonated sugar water to infants.

Shame on the food companies to trick parents and hook children that young.

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Researchers in Sweden studied nearly 300 non-smoking hairdressers and those who often used light colored hair dyes or hair-waving products on clients had more potentially cancer-causing compounds in their blood than hairdressers who used the chemicals less frequently. Specifically, toluidine compounds in the blood increased with exposure to perm chemicals and permanent light hair dyes.

In the late 1970s, regulatory actions were taken in Europe and carcinogenic aromatic amines were forbidden for use as hair dye ingredients. But it still shows up in hair colors.


Exposure to o-toluidine should be eliminated since it is a carcinogen.

· If you must use color, use gloves to minimize exposure to chemicals in dyes and change to fresh gloves after mixing the dye, applying it and rinsing it.

· Use Shikakai as an alternate natural coloring agent.

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Manufacturers get to decide whether food additives are safe or not.

• Manufacturers get to decide whether to bother to tell the FDA the additives are in the food supply.

And if they do volunteer to inform the FDA (and many do):

• Manufacturers get to decide who sits on the panels that review the evidence for safety.

In reading the study, it seemed to me that:

• As long as not too many people roll over dead after eating foods with new additives, nobody will ever have a clue whether the additive is safe.

• The regulatory gap has spawned an entire enterprise of GRAS consultants and GRAS consulting firms who are in the business—presumably lucrative—of providing the scientific documentation the FDA needs to determine additive safety.

Some of the consultants need to do a better job. The FDA raises enough questions that about 15% (my estimate) of the requests would be denied.

The good news: If the FDA sees the safety documentation, it does its job.

But what happens to the rejected additives? Or the ones that don’t get voluntarily sent to FDA?

Nobody really knows (think: caffeine in alcohol drinks–the FDA had no idea).

We need a better food safety system in this country and conflicts of interests in GRAS additive approvals are a good place to start.


Want to lose weight, ward off diabetes and still drink something that tastes sweet and fizzy? Grab a diet soda!

Artificial sweeteners, whether sucralose, stevia, aspartame or any of the other increasing number of ingredients being added to this category, are being linked to just as many negative health problems as sugar, in its many forms, according to a new review of five years’ worth of research.

People who drink diet sodas perceive them as healthy and then overeat other unhealthy foods.

animal studies have also shown that artificial sweeteners interfere with your body’s production of a hormone called GLP-1. It’s a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels and your feelings of satiety

15 percent of children consume artificial sweeteners. Ironically, increases in consumption of these sweeteners has increased in lock-step with obesity rates over the past 40 years.

The bottom line? The healthiest diet drink for you is water.

Source: food politics in Nestle’s forthcoming book Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics

Source: Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Kraft is removing artificial preservatives from everyone’s favorite grilled cheese ingredient, their popular Singles cheese product.

Kraft said that sorbic acid is being replaced by natamycin, which they say is a "natural mold inhibitor." As a food additive, it has E number E235.

Recently, Subway removed a chemical from its bread that is also found in yoga mats.

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PVC, BPA and DEHP are Dangerous for Kid’s Health

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC, is often dubbed the most toxic plastic on the planet because of all the harmful vinyl chemicals used to manufacture it and the ones released during its use and disposal.

A vinyl chemical called diisononyl phthalate (DiNP), the chemical used to keep PVC flexible and pliable (think shower curtains and garden hoses), has just been dubbed a carcinogen by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

This adds to others in the list:

· BPA, the hormone disruptor found in some plastics labeled #7 and in the lining of most canned foods, and

· Phthalate, DEHP, which is also used in PVC, and is a carcinogen.


Say no to vinyl. The easiest way to identify this toxic plastic is to avoid any plastic products with the #3 in the triangle of arrows on the bottom. If you’re not sure, give it a smell test: PVC products emit a plastic odor that will remind you of a new shower curtain.

Source: Rodale News