Artificial sweeteners are artificial substances added to foods and drinks that taste sweet but lack the same health effects as natural sugar. This may be the reason for their consumption in the United States Increasing.
Foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners are classified as “sugar-free” or “diet” foods. However, artificial sweeteners may also have additional health effects.
This article explains artificial sweeteners, including the types and how they work. It also discusses the health claims of artificial sweeteners and identifies their benefits and risks, according to research.
Artificial sweeteners can be used as a substitute for sugar or table sugar.
Some types of sugar may have these names on food labels:
- Fruct Oligosaccharide (FOS)
Sugars are carbohydrates, a type of nutrient that tastes sweet. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that provide sweetness but contain few or no carbohydrates or calories. This is why some artificial sweeteners are considered “non-nutritive sweeteners.”
As a result, artificial sweeteners differ from sugar in their effect on nutrition and the body.
Artificial sweeteners do not taste sweeter than table sugar, so there is less need to sweeten the food. According to the National Cancer Institute, food may require 200 to 200,000 times less An artificial sweetener made of table sugar to make food taste just as sweet.
Always follow package instructions and serving sizes on products that contain artificial sweeteners.
the tongue it contains Many taste buds that detect flavors and communicate them to the brain. These flavors come from molecules in the food. However, only certain types of taste buds can process different molecules. For example, some have receptors for molecules from sweet foods. Others may process the bitter flavors.
Artificial sweeteners, although they don’t contain sugar, contain molecules that your taste buds can pick up for sweetness. However, the chemical compositions of artificial sweeteners and sugar differ otherwise. the body can not digest Many artificial sweeteners. As a result, they do not produce energy or calories.
Alternatively, the body can digest some artificial sweeteners. However, it contains fewer calories due to the need for only small portions to provide sweetness;
The different types of artificial sweeteners can vary depending on their quality.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies artificial sweeteners that are sweeter than sugar with few or no calories as “high intensity sweeteners.” However, not all sugar substitutes are FDA approved.
Here is a list of six high-density sweeteners FDA approved:
Other sugar substitutes include sugar alcohols, carbohydrates that can be 25 – 100% Sweet as sugar. Like high-intensity sweeteners, they contain fewer calories than sugar and do not have the same effects on health.
Examples of sugar alcohols include:
Read more about erythritolIncluding its benefits and uses.
Is stevia an artificial sweetener?
Stevia is another high-density sweetener. However, it may not be considered synthetic because it comes from a natural plant.
Researchers and manufacturers say stevia may be too Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) When used in human food if used as directed. Although the FDA has not contested some of these claims, it does not regulate GRAS like other high-intensity sweeteners.
Here are the health effects that artificial sweeteners may have, according to research.
table sugar is more accurate A risk factor for tooth decay, according to a 2016 study. Artificial sweeteners may help protect dental health. Some sugar substitutes, such as erythritol, may also inhibit the growth of bacteria that contribute to cavities and plaque, according to Study 2018.
sugar consumption Can High blood glucose. Over time, this may increase the risk of:
However, some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may also increase blood sugar, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
a Study 2020 It indicates that artificial sweeteners may have a negative effect on blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance. The hormone insulin helps control blood sugar levels.
One potential benefit of artificial sweeteners is their ability to help people maintain a moderate weight. They provide few calories, unlike table sugar.
However, a Study 2021 It suggests that artificial sweeteners may not affect weight or cause weight changes, although the researchers state that the duration of most studies was limited. also 2017 study He suggests that drinking beverages containing artificial sweeteners may increase participants’ motivation to eat more sweet foods.
Researchers from Study 2019 She suggests that artificial sweeteners may contribute to metabolic syndrome, factors that increase the risk of:
- brain attack
- Cardiovascular disease
Read more about Metabolic disorders and their causes.
Research on the effects of artificial sweeteners on gut health is mixed.
a 2020 Clinical Trial He notes that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose had little effect on gut health when used daily.
In contrast, research indicates that table sugar may promote The growth of harmful bacteria and contribute to intestinal inflammation. Inflammatory bowel disease may lead to chronic disease.
However, a Study 2022 The effects of sucralose and saccharin on gut health suggests that non-nutritive sweeteners may disrupt the gut microbiome and impair the ability to digest glucose. The gut microbiome indicates the balance of good and bad bacteria supports Digestion and health.
Consuming sugar alcohol may cause abnormal flatulence 2016 review.
Learn more about dysbiosis and disturbances of the microbiome.
Headache and other neurological symptoms
Some artificial sweeteners may cause symptoms that affect the brain.
a Study 2021 It is suggested that aspartame can be associated with neurological and behavioral symptoms such as:
However, not everyone experiences side effects from artificial sweeteners.
If you notice symptoms after using an artificial sweetener, reduce the amount in your diet. If symptoms persist, contact a doctor.
Additional investigations can help confirm or deny the health effects of artificial sweeteners.
The research should be conducted at longer intervals and show a clear cause-and-effect relationship.
Also, like Some researchers note, sweeteners are not one category. Each type of sweetener can have differences in its properties and effects. More information is needed to understand the individual effects.
Many people believe that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. This belief began after studying in 1970 aBsesFiftheDr Bladder cancer cells of mice that received a high dose of a mixture containing saccharin.
Many recent and larger studies it was not found A clear association between artificial sweeteners and cancer in humans. This includes studies on the safety of saccharin. Also, rats process saccharin differently than humans, so a 1970 study may not be relevant to human health.
However, a Study 2022 It suggests that artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame and acesulfame-K, may be linked to an increased risk of cancer.
The researchers looked at the nutritional records of 102,865 adults and followed them for about 7.8 years to check for cancer. This study may have limitations. Determining the link does not prove that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, as other factors can influence the risk.
More research is needed to understand any potential risks.
Many artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can provide sweetness without using sugar. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved six artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium.
Research on the health effects of artificial sweeteners is mixed, giving evidence of both benefits and negative effects. More research is needed to understand the effects of each local.
Always follow package instructions and serving sizes on products that contain artificial sweeteners. If you experience symptoms of illness after taking an artificial sweetener, contact your doctor.
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