Understanding Artificial Sweetener
Of-late we see many food products as sugar free and diet sodas, but guarantees sweet taste. Considered to be healthy because there is no sugar or calories. Claims made are questionable though. Lets first under what is Artificial sweeteners before getting to judge them good or bad.
Artificial sweetener is also known as sugar substitutes in medical terms. It has varied usage depending upon the conditions and circumstances. The most common use of these sweeteners is in flavoring. But are they good for our health? Before judging the quality of a product on our health; let us first discuss the basic chemical and other compositions of artificial sweetener flavoring color.
Artificial sweetener is a wide term that seen in most of the packaged food items. It is used to reduce the content of sugar and calories from your diet. Yet, it provides the sweet taste of food, thus maintaining the quality. A doctor advises to use this for certain health concerns.
This is also used along with terms like sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, natural sweeteners and sugar substitute. However, all these sweeteners serve the same purpose. i.e. they provide the natural sweet taste of a food product without increasing the sugar and calorie content. The only difference between these sweeteners is their chemical composition.
Artificial sweetener consists of chemical components like acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose. Some companies call the products as ‘natural’ although they are refined and processed in the factories. Few companies call them ‘artificial’ even if they contain natural elements like in case of stevia preparations. In medical point of view, they are synthetic sugar substitutes which may or may not be derived naturally including herbs or sugar. They are also referred to as intense sweetener as they are sweeter than regular sugar cubes.
These sweeteners are used as a sugar substitute which doesn’t add more calories to your diet. They are also used in many processed foods, powdered milk drinks, soft drinks, candies, jams, jellies and many other products. A possible health benefit includes –
- Weight Control – which each individual demands nowadays.
- Diabetes – since the product is an alternative to sugar, people suffering from diabetes can take it as an alternative to sugar.
It is a common myth that saccharin content in these artificial sweeteners are one of the root causes of bladder cancer. Dating back to 1970s, the product itself contained a label stating that the product is harmful to health. Later, a series of studies in National Cancer Institute and other health agencies were conducted. There was no scientific proof for the statement that saccharin contains cancer causing agents. These products are also regulated by Food & Drug Administration (FDA).