Artificial Sweeteners: Pros & Cons
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners, also known as intense or alternative sweeteners, are compounds used to sweeten food with no, or few, calories. They are constructed so that the human digestive system cannot break them down or absorb them.
How Are Artificial Sweeteners Used?
People watching their blood sugar use artificial sweeteners to add a sugary taste to their food without adding actual sugar. Artificial sweeteners are also very popular in diet foods and drinks. People want to enjoy the sweet taste without excess calories.
What Are the Pros of Using Artificial Sweeteners?
Many Americans struggle with weight, and want to reduce their caloric intake. However, most people crave sweets. Sweets such as candy, soda, pastries, ice cream, etc. are all high in calories. People eat these foods too frequently or in portions that are too large and gain weight. Artificial sweeteners can be a way to satisfy that sweet tooth without adding to the waistline.
What Are the Cons of Using Artificial Sweeteners?
Some researchers claim that consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners may increase the body's preference for sweet things and make people more likely to crave sweets. In addition, many products that contain artificial sweeteners still have plenty of calories from carbohydrates. People don't think about this, and overconsume. Some artificial sweeteners are not truly calorie free. These sweeteners often include carbohydrates to improve texture. Consequently, they can cause a rise in blood sugar, and this can be unsafe for diabetics. Some people may also have allergic reactions to certain artificial sweeteners. They need to stay away from these sweeteners and products containing them.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous?
There is an intense and ongoing debate about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. In most cases, intensive research studies have failed to confirm this. It is also common practice these days to mix different sweeteners for purposes of taste, texture, or economy. The combined effects of these chemicals has not been studied at all. It is quite possible that they may interact with one another in previously unanticipated ways to have deleterious effects. Artificial sweeteners should be used with caution. Too little remains known on their potential life-long effects.
Sources: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/artificial-sweeteners http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page11.htm