Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

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  • 1 Answer
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    Aspartame, distributed under several trade names (e.g., NutraSweet® and Equal®), was approved in 1981 by the FDA after numerous tests showed that it did not cause cancer or other adverse effects in laboratory animals (Council on Scientific Affairs 1985; Flamm 1997; Koestner 1997).

    In the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, aspartame consumption ranged from 0 to 3400 mg per day (about 19 cans of soda at the high end; however, the upper limit is not absolute because investigators asked multiple-choice questions on frequency and the highest option was "6-plus times a day"). There are 180 mg of aspartame in a 12 ounce can of diet soda.

    The highest aspartame category in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study was "600 mg and above per day," or about three or more cans of diet soda; researchers also examined higher categories (more than 1200 mg per day or 2000 mg per day, which is equivalent to approximately seven to 11 cans of soft drinks daily) with fewer people and found similar results of no elevated risk.

    FDA's Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of aspartame is 50 mg per kilogram of body weight or about 3,750 mg (21 cans of diet soda) for an adult weighing 75 kilograms (165 lb). ADI is the amount of substance (e.g., food additive) like aspartame that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk to a person on the basis of all the known facts at the time of the evaluation.

    The average aspartame consumption among diet beverage consumers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study was 200 mg per day, or about 7 percent of the ADI, which is the same as a survey of U.S. consumers done by the FDA.

    An animal study that fed 0, 4, 20, 100, 500, 2500, and 5000 mg per kilogram of body weight of aspartame to rats saw lymphoma/leukemia increase in female rats, starting from about twice the risk with 20 mg per kilogram of body weight (a person weighing 75 kilograms or 165 lbs, consuming 1500 mg aspartame, or about 8 cans of diet soda) compared with a control group that was not fed aspartame.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
  • 1 Answer
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    Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, are substances that are used instead of sucrose (table sugar) to sweeten foods and beverages. Because artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than table sugar, smaller amounts are needed to create the same level of sweetness.

    Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA, like the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA regulates food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, and radiation-emitting products. The Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which was passed by Congress in 1958, requires the FDA to approve food additives, including artificial sweeteners, before they can be made available for sale in the United States. However, this legislation does not apply to products that are "generally recognized as safe." Such products do not require FDA approval before being marketed.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
  • 1 Answer
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    A , Fitness, answered
    Saccharin is the oldest sugar substitute around; you probably know it as Sweet ’N Low. It was discovered by a chemist in 1879 and became a popular additive in the 20th century. As early as 1911, though, there was already an effort being made to ban it due to its potentially unhealthy effects. Controversy continued to follow saccharin, especially in the 1970s when research published in Science linked it to bladder cancer in animals. Again, there was an attempt to have it banned, but instead, products were required by law to post a label stating that saccharin caused cancer in laboratory animals (you probably remember seeing it on the side of popular sodas like Tab).

    Even though this ban has since been removed, scientists from institutions such as the University of Illinois and Boston University have requested that saccharin be labeled a carcinogen once again, stating that there is “ample evidence” to suggest that it’s cancer causing.

  • 3 Answers
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    Questions about artificial sweeteners and cancer arose when early studies showed that cyclamate in combination with saccharin caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals. However, results from subsequent carcinogenicity studies (studies that examine whether a substance can cause cancer) of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans. Similarly, studies of other FDA-approved sweeteners have not demonstrated clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
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  • 4 Answers
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Many people use artificial sweeteners to cut their caloric intake, but the very opposite effect can occur. New research shows that artificial sweeteners stimulate taste receptors that sense sweetness in both the esophagus and stomach. Anticipating energy, the pancreas releases insulin, an important hormone for accumulating body fat. At the same time, chemicals are sent to the brain’s satiety center, which becomes confused as to whether or not the body is actually receiving calories. The result? You feel even hungrier and less full, which can lead to weight gain.

    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Saccharin is a known cancer-causing compound in rats. Although these effects have not been noted in humans, it must be pointed out that saccharin has been shown to cause cancer in rats only if it is administered over two generations. Therefore, it might be that future generations may pay for the current consumption of saccharin. This effect on future generations may finally provide the firm evidence the American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs requires. This council has concluded that "until there is firm evidence of its [saccharin's] carcinogenicity in humans, saccharin should continue to be available as a food additive."

    Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Aspartame was approved for food use by the FDA in 1981, despite the final recommendation of the FDA Advisory Panel on aspartame that no approval be granted until safety issues could be resolved. Richard Wurtman, M.D., the pioneer in the study of nutrition and the brain, cautioned the FDA that, based on his extensive research, aspartame could significantly affect mood and behavior.

    Wurtman and other researchers have demonstrated that aspartame administration to animals, at levels comparable to those of high human consumption, alters brain chemistry. While the long-term effects of aspartame are largely unknown, some people are quite sensitive to aspartame and report immediate reactions. Some of the problems associated with aspartame ingestion include seizures, migraine headaches, hives, and disturbances in nerve function. Aspartame is particularly problematic for some individuals who suffer from migraine headaches.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Xylitol, a sweetener, prevents tooth decay, rather than causes it, which is why it is often used in sugar-free gum as well as oral hygiene products such as toothpaste, fluoride tablets, and mouthwashes. Studies have shown that xylitol may also help control oral infections of candida yeast. Derived from the bark of the birch tree, it is lower in calories than sugar, with 9.6 calories per teaspoon, as compared to one teaspoon of sugar, which has 15 calories.
  • 2 Answers
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Here are some things to consider when eating agave containing products:

    1. Know where your ingredient comes from -- Organic (US Department of Agriculture [USDA] logo.

    2. Blends do not confer the same nutritional benefits as the single ingredient -- for example, if something contains organic agave but also maple syrup or additional fructose or a sugar alcohol (i.e. sorbitol) the product does not have the same glycemic load as organic agave alone.

    3. Quantity is still the key concept. If we over consume agave at an eating occasion or during the week, we have over consumed bringing up issues such as imbalanced blood sugar, extra weight, higher fat mass, insulin resistance.
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  • 2 Answers
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Is coconut sugar a healthy sweetener alternative?
    Coconut sugar is a great alternative to regular sugar, in that it contains more nutrients/minerals, fiber, and has a lower glycemic index. In this video, registered dietitian Keri Glassman, RD, explains the healthy benefits of using coconut sugar.
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  • 2 Answers
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    Some brands offer pre-made blends of sugar and artificial sweeteners. These blends are meant to be used in baking. They are half-sugar and half-artificial sweetener, so they have half the calories and carbohydrate as sugar.

    As with all artificial sweeteners, you will want to read the instructions for substituting these blends for sugar. For example, when replacing regular sugar with Splenda's Sugar Blend (half-granular Splenda, half-sugar), they suggest using half as much:

    1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend = 387 calories + 97 grams of carbohydrate
    Instead of 1 cup sugar = 774 calories + 200 grams of carbohydrate

    Remember that baking blends still have a significant amount of calories and carbohydrates that need to be considered when meal planning because they are half sugar.

    For more detailed information on cooking and baking with different sugar substitutes, visit the manufacturer's website. They will also usually provide additional recipes that use their products.
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