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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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According to the fashion, our wardrobe changes. In fashion, it is vital to know about the next new thing. Unfortunately the food business has started to follow the same with Artificial Sweetener/Sugar. Chemists create a new “food” in a lab, advertisers promote it and once it’s in every shelf of super market we all buy and use it.

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners also called sugar substitutes are compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar without the same calories. They are anywhere from 30 to 8000 times sweeter than sugar and as a result, they have much fewer calories than foods made with table sugar (sucrose). Each gram of refined table sugar contains 4 calories. However sugar substitutes have zero calories per gram. It is a proprietary patented chemical (typically phenylalanine) that gives sweetness.

The way artificial sweeteners were discovered could have been a scene out of the old classic comedy. In 1879, Ira Ramsen a researcher from John Hopkins spilled a chemical on his hand; it turned out to be sweet when he tasted it. He was trying to create some antiulcer drug in his lab when this accident occurred. His spill set the stage for the development of saccharin-an artificial sweetener known today by many names

Now more than 125 years later, saccharin is joined by a growing list of artificial sweeteners with varying chemical structures. There’s a whole host of new ones on the horizon. These products substitute sugar and may even replace the dreaded high fructose corn syrup.

Are they safe?

More kids are drinking artificially sweetened beverages like DIET Coke/Pepsi/Sprite.

Can they help people to shed their extra weight? What role should they play in person’s or children’s diet-if any?

For children, sugar is considered poison. Read this if you want to know why.

Artificial sweepers pose its own potential problems in infants and children.

Sugar alcohols mannitol and sorbitol can cause diarrhea in adults as well as children

Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, used in some formulas could cause irritability and muscle dysfunction in infants, although this is unproven according to Medicine.Net.

Aspartame has the most complaints of any additives available to the public. It has been linked with Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia and other central nervous disorders. Possible other side effects of aspartame include headache, migraines, panic-attacks, dizziness, irritability, nausea, intestinal discomfort, skin rash and nervousness. Some researchers have also linked it with depression and manic episodes.

Parents particularly should be concerned about the neurotoxicity of aspartame. Dr. Olney pointed out in 1980 that aspartame killed neurons in lab rats and that children’s nervous system aren’t protected by the blood-brain barrier. He told the FDA, “We can be reasonably certain there is no margin of safety for the use of aspartame in the child’s diet.”

Obesity and sweeteners in children.

A review of studies conducted by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, published in the 2008, found that an increased intake of artificial sweeteners correlated with an increase, rather than a decrease, in obesity.

Artificial sweeteners changes the way people perceive food tastes, according to the Harvard Health Letter. Foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners also fill children up without providing any nutritional benefit.

The AAP clearly states that artificial sweeteners shouldn’t have significant place in a child’s diet.

So what do you do?

An occasional taste of a treat made with artificial sweetener won’t harm your child.

But in general, we avoid “artificial” food like a plague.

We recommend that you offer sweet substitutes.

Cinnamon is a sweet tasting spice that has recently been shown to have a beneficial effect on stabilizing blood insulin levels. Sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal or in a smoothie.

Molasses, Honey and Agave nectar are other less dangerous alternatives.

Best, try fruit toppings or dates.