Often, people who are trying to reduce their sugar and calorie intake prefer to go for sugar substitutes. These sweeteners can be found in several foods and beverages, especially baked goods and soft drinks. So are these sugar substitutes safe? Let us understand.
- Sugar Substitutes – What are they?
- Artificial Sweeteners – Know them to use them.
- Uses of Artificial Sweeteners?
- Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?
- What are Natural Sweeteners?
- Benefits of Natural Sweeteners
- How To know If a Food Or Drink Contains Sugar Substitute
- List of Sugar Substitutes/ Artificial Sweeteners Approved by FDA
- Final Thoughts
Sugar Substitutes – What are they?
Sugar substitutes are slightly different from regular sugar. They provide sweetness to foods and drinks without adding calories to the body. Some of these natural sweeteners don’t cause tooth decay or diabetes.
For people suffering from diabetes and obesity sugar substitutes are often recommended to prevent their condition from getting worse.
In terms of body weight, sugar substitutes help to prevent an increase in body weight because it doesn’t add calories to the body. Most of the processed foods and drinks that are being sold in food stores today contain sugar substitutes.
Regardless of its benefits to the body, you should know that it is important to reduce the intake of these sweeteners and focus on natural foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Artificial Sweeteners – Know them to use them.
Artificial sweeteners are a type of sugar substitute used in place of the regular sugar (Sucrose). They may be derived from natural substances such as sugar and herbs. Artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar itself and are also referred to as ‘Intense’ sweeteners.
People often prefer artificial sweeteners to regular sugar because it doesn’t add calories to the diet.
Besides, you’ll need just a small amount of sweeteners to make your food or drink sweet compared to regular sugar.
Uses of Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are commonly used in processed foods. Examples are baked goods, candy, puddings, canned foods, dairy products, jams, soft drinks, and more. Also, artificial sweeteners can be used at home for baking and cooking.
Unlike sugar, certain artificial sweeteners leave an aftertaste which may last for several hours.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?
Some people hold the belief that artificial sweeteners are not good for health while others feel there is nothing as good as it. Those who don’t like artificial sweeteners claim it causes several health problems such as cancer. This was as a result of an experiment that was carried out in the 1970s.
The experiment revealed that the rats used as subjects had bladder cancer due to the intake of saccharin, an artificial sweetener. As a result of this, saccharin carried a warning label that it could be dangerous to health. It was later discovered that the claim was wrong.
Later on, studies confirmed that artificial sweeteners have no adverse effect on health if taken in moderation, regardless of the condition of the people that are consuming it. The question still remains – are sugar substitutes safe?
Don’t be surprised that some manufacturers claim their sweeteners are natural even though it’s refined. Some natural sweeteners are processed from sucralose, a substance from sugar.
What are Natural Sweeteners?
Natural sweeteners are often used in place of sugar. They are considered healthier compared to other sugar substitutes. The truth is that these natural sweeteners are also processed and refined. FDA recognizes natural sweeteners as safe for consumption. These are molasses, maple syrup, honey, fruit juices, and nectar.
Benefits of Natural Sweeteners
Natural sweeteners are considered healthier than sugar although their vitamin and mineral components are almost the same. Honey and sugar have been proven to contain the same nutrients and are both processed by the body into glucose and fructose.
Whether you want to use natural sweeteners or sugar, try to be careful to prevent over-usage.
How To know If a Food Or Drink Contains Sugar Substitute
Most processed foods and drinks such as soft drinks, baked goods, powdered drinks, and more, contain sugar substitutes. To confirm if a food or drink contains a sugar substitute, you should check the list of ingredients.
List of Sugar Substitutes/ Artificial Sweeteners Approved by FDA
The United States FDA has approved the following sugar substitutes as food additives.
* Saccharine (Brand name: Sweet ‘N low and sweet Twin)
* Acesulfame (Brand name: sunett and sweet one)
* Neotame ( Brand name: Newtame)
* Sucralose (Brand name: Splenda)
So, are sugar substitutes safe?
As much as certain sugar substitutes offer certain benefits to the body, it should be taken in moderation. Note that the nutritional benefits you’ll get from fruits and vegetables cannot be compared with that of processed foods. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take sugar substitutes when necessary, but your intake of natural sugar should exceed that of artificial sweeteners.
Part of the Diet for Weight Loss Editorial Team 2021