What are artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are food additives that have been designed to mimic the taste of real sugar. Some are made from chemicals while others are made from natural substances. They are made as an alternative food additive for persons who can not take normal sugar due to medical reasons or even for those who do not want to simply take normal sugar for health purposes.
Artificial sweeteners are a favorite of many people because they add little to almost no calories to a diet. It is also true that the amount of artificial sweetener needed to savor a dish well is way smaller than when normal sugar is used. They are also believed to make foods sweeter a thousand folds compared to normal sugar.
Where can we find artificial sweeteners?
It is possible that at times, people will and have been consuming processed or artificial sweeteners without giving thought to the fact that they are. Most of the times we buy a drink to quench thirst we pay little attention to the drink’s ingredients. So, we might be obliviously thinking that artificial sugars are taken only by some people who purchase them purposely to enhance simple drinks like tea. But that is far from the truth. Such sugars are found virtually in many products ranging from yogurts, candy, baked foods, soft drinks, canned fruits, among other things. Even diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are also commonly used at home in baking or cooking.Some may leave an aftertaste which some people find to be very appealing. Some artificial sweeteners when used in combination provide very tasteful meals according to some people.
Forms of artificial sweeteners
The most common products names found in the market are sucralose, aspartame,Advantame, Cyclamatesaccharin, neotame, and acesulfame potassium. All these products are several times sweeter than normal sugar and can be used in cooking and baking. Some of them like Cyclamate and Neohesperidin have been banned in the US. The truth is that use of some of these sweeteners has not been approved in many countries owing to health risks they are thought to pause.
How artificial sweeteners work
It is very important for people to understand how artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes work as they have been getting a bad rap lately. The topic of sugar substitutes can be confusing. One problem is that there are differences when it comes to interpretation of artificial sweeteners. Some companies brand sweeteners "natural" even though they're processed or refined. Stevia preparations are one example. Some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances like sucralose.
Artificial sweeteners generally taste good because the receptors in the tongue will recognize them. Many people opt for them as they have zero calories. This can be attributed to the fact that our bodies cannot break them down as their structure is different from that of normal sugar. Also, only small amounts are required to make foods sweet and thus one consumes virtually no calories.
Possible benefits of artificial sweeteners
They can help people to control their weight.
Artificial sweeteners are very often popular among individuals who are trying to lose or manage their weight.This is because as mentioned beforethey have virtually no calories to them, even if consumedin large quantities. When we compare this advantage to the 16 calories per teaspoon present in a sugar-containing product, one can reduce the levels consumed dailyby opting for artificial sweeteners. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which translates to160 calories. Replacing that with an artificially sweetened product can help you get a start on the health changes that you need, even if the long-term benefits of the switch are not fully clear.
Artificial sweeteners are an excellent option for diabetics
After one has been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition like diabetes, they don’t have to be doomed to certain foods. It is true that they have to cut off sugar intake, so they don’t raise their bodily sugar levels. Artificial sweeteners come in handy to ensure such people like normal lives and can satisfy their sweet tooth once in a while without compromising their wellbeing. This is due to the fact that sweeteners are not carbohydrates and will therefore not raise blood sugar after consumption.
Artificial sweeteners could support better gut and oralwell-being.
The consumption of sugar contributes significantlyto problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis and cavities.Whenever we consume sugar the bacteria in the mouth ferments it, turning it into acid. This acid is what damages our teeth. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners do not react with bacteria present in the mouth, no acid will be formed so no teeth damage will occur. When we eliminate sugar that enables bacteria to thrive in the mouth it is possible to minimize cases of oral problems with time.
The downside of artificial sweeteners
It is possible that they can cause food aversions
Sweeteners change the way food tastes. In fact, they make foods to be sweeter and appealing to our taste buds. It’s also a fact that smaller quantities produce excellent results. This may cause overstimulation of our taste receptors. With time, a person may find that foods considered normally to be sweet such as fruits are unpalatable to them. Simply put, such a person may shun healthy food options like fruits and vegetables because they no longer taste good to them.
Artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain
This is almost ironical as many people opt for them to cut out on calories. This is because of the inability by many people to differentiate caloric and noncaloric food options. One may reason out that if diet soda has no calories, then they can have it with French fries and the benefits will neutralize each other. Such practices will only lead to weight gain in the long run.Artificial sugars also sort of trick the body that foods being consumed are non-caloricthereby slowing down metabolism. In the event that one consumes foods with high calorie levels, the body will not release metabolism hormones and this will result to high blood glucose and rapid weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners can cause cancer
Research on this topic has produced varied results. Different scholars have conducted studies on animals and some have confirmed that they may case cancer while other results completely disregard this line of thought. Sugar enables cancer cells to thrive and thus people ought to take care when indulging in possibly dangerous chemicals to the body.
Other health problems
Continued consumption of artificial sugars has been linked to problems like occasional headaches and migraines, stomach upsets gas and diarrhea. The alcohol-based varieties of sweeteners are believed to have a laxative effect on the body.
Making the right choices
Being healthy is a concern for almost everyone today. We all want to better our lives and enjoy it while it lasts. In that positive spirit, some people cut back sugar which is highly commendable and replace it with artificial sweeteners to evade high calorie intake. Artificial sweeteners are neither good or bad. What we need to embrace are the possible negative effects of these sweeteners to our bodies in the long run.
It is important to exercise moderation in every aspect of life, choosing sugar substitutes is no exception. Even though artificial sweeteners can help with weight management, they are not miracle or magic workers and should be used moderately. Excessive indulgence will lead to adverse health effects like addiction as some people have on diet soda.
It is also important to know that foodstuffs branded as sugar free are not necessarily calorie free and can therefore cause weight gain. It is prudent to steer off processed foodswhenever possible as they will not provide the same nutritional benefits as would fruits, vegetables and natural food.