Healthy Eating: Types of Fake Sugars
In the conditions of a modern hypodynamia, the excess amount of sugar is not used for power needs, but is converted into neutral fats, and becomes one of the reasons of obesity. Thus, the modern preventive pharmacology widely uses fake sugars and sweeteners, which render dual effect on a human body, both positive and negative. Hence, in order to avoid problems with health, it is necessary to study carefully both aforementioned influences of artificial sugars on a human body.
Sucrose, which is added to jams, baked goods, and marinades supplies organism with energy but does not offer nutritional benefits. However, the American Heart Association advises people to limit daily consumption of sucrose because its excessive amount in an organism may cause obesity and heart diseases. In 1988, the Food and Drug Administration first approved acesulfame potassium, which is non-nutritive artificial sweetener. Being added into soft drinks, chewing gums, gelatin, and frozen desserts, it was considered as a harmless artificial sweetener. However, recent researches showed that it may result in cancer. Thus, even though both sucrose and acesulfame potassium are more or less harmless, more researches should be conducted.
Agave nectar extracted from the agave cactus is similar in texture and taste to honey and has approximately the same amount of calories but fewer antioxidants. Unlike table sugar, it contains more fructose; thus, as a recent study reports, it is less likely to result in blood sugarspikes. However, agave nectar is more likely to reduce insulin sensitivity and metabolism, which causes need to eat more that, in turn, leads to obesity.
An artificial sweetener aspartame is one of the most examined artificial sweeteners, consumption of which can cause health problems with weight gain and cancer. However, currently, several health associations claim that aspartame in moderation does not pose threats to health. Nevertheless, the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) warns people with an inherited genetic disorder and phenylketonuria to avoid it.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains glucose extracted from processed corn syrup and fructose. Most of packaged American foods, particularly, sodas, desserts, and cereals, contain HFCS because it provides longer life cycle of the product and is cheaper than sucrose. Some researches show that HFCS is more likely to cause obesity than sucrose, and others claim that it is harmless to health. In any case, people should limit its consumption. Honey contains vitamins and minerals, and, unlike other sweet products, it does not raise blood sugar levels considerably. The benefit of honey is that steady and slow rise in blood sugar is better for body, rather than a dramatic splash after eating of other sweet substances. However, since honey contains a great amount of calories, it should be used as any other full-calorie sweetener.
Neotame is the newest artificial sweetener, which is more than 7000 times sweeter than table sugar. Though it was approved by the CSPI, it is quite rarely applied to everyday products. The most widespread products containing neotame are some drinks, frozen desserts, dairy products, fruit juices, and puddings. Rebiana is the natural alternative to artificial sweeteners because it is extracted from the stevia plant. It has zero calories and is commonly added to yogurts, diet drinks, and individual packets. However, recent researches conducted by the group of toxicologists from the UCLA showed that this sweetener may cause DNA damage and mutations. Therefore, people should be mindful of the amount of consumed rebiana.
Saccharin, a zero calorie sweetener, is widely used in drinks, candies, canned goods, and in everyday consumption with tea or coffee. However, the CSPI recommends avoiding it because the extensive use of saccharin can cause cancer. The CSPI reckons a no calorie sucralose safe artificial sweeteners, and it was defined as not carcinogenic as a result of several studies. Being one of the several not sensitive to heat, this sweetener can be used in baking and is useful for people limiting empty-calorie carbohydrates diet or diabetes.
Taking into account all abovementioned information, one can conclude that fake sugars in various beverages and food are very popular worldwide. Several researches have proved that stevia, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and neotame are safe with an acceptable daily intake. In addition, the artificial sweeteners may be helpful in weight control because they are non-nutritive and are a good alternative to table sugar for those having diabetes. However, several groups of people should avoid consumption of fake sugars, for example, pregnant women, people with the inherited genetic disorder and phenylketonuria, etc.
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