Artificial Sweeteners really are sweet after all!


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blog3sugar2.jpgI'm well-known for my "health-freak" tendencies, and about three years ago I ordered my mom to start buying the artificial sweetener Splenda by the bulk so that I'd be able to sweeten my coffee and teas while keeping them essentially "sugar-free".  Today, "sugar-free" sweets are becoming increasingly popular on the market .  Make a frozen yogurt stop down at Kiwi on College Ave. and you'll see they offer a variety of "sugar-free" flavors!  How is it possible that these delicious, super sweet tasting flavors don't contain any sugar?  If it isn't sugar that's making these goods so tasty, what is it?  "Sugar-free" may sound like the clear-cut, healthier choice...but is it?

                What's making these goodies so sweet without the use of sugar?  Artificial sweeteners.  As the linked article states, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently approves of five types of artificial sweeteners to substitute table sugar, or sucrose:  asulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose. 

     Obvious pros to artificial sweeteners are a lower caloric value, decreased risk of dental cavities, and lesser chance of diabetes.  However, debate exists over the health risk cons of these mock-sugars.  It's been much speculated and openly discussed that these sweeteners may contain ingredients linked to cancer development.  As a frequent Splenda user, I decided to look into these rumors to find out if I, along with the rest of you anti-sugar people, are truly at risk.

 

CANCER CAUSING?

 labrat2.jpgAccording this cancer information page, rumors of these products causing cancer began in the 1970s when one of the forementioned artificial sweeters saccharin (Sweet N' Low) was given to laboratory rats seemed to have caused bladder cancer.  However, after almost thirty years of speculation on the topic, it was found that these doses of saccharin were not cancer causing in humans due to the difference in protein content in rat urine as opposed to human urine.  Proteins in the rat urine that are not present in human urine contained proteins that combined with saccharin and calcium phosphate (also unique to rat urine) to create microcrystals that were damaging to the rat's bladder lining.

                Another one of these FDA approved sweeteners, Aspartame (Equal), was associated with an increase in brain tumor patients between the years 1975 and 1992 - due to its FDA approval being granted in the year 1981.  However, these speculations were quickly  refuted after several glitches in the case appeared, one being that the increased tumor rates began in 1973, 8 years before Aspartame's approval (source).

                As for the three other United States FDA approved artificial sweeteners - Acesulfame potassium (Sweet One), Sucralose (Splenda), and Neotame - no carcinogenic ingredients were speculated after multiple studies on each.

                As a frequent artificial sweetener user, this information relieves what little worry I had about what my daily coffee could really be doing to my health.  Although I'm sure many more studies have been conducted aside from the ones I looked into for the purposes of this blog, I was pleased to find that most of the immediate information I came across on this topic wasn't as negative as I thought it would be!  I'll keep pouring the Splenda!

3 Comments

It seems you have done quite a research there! Nice job. It definitely had some interesting information. Check out my blog post about the Bermuda Triangle

Megan - awesome start to your blogs! This article was really interesting, and something that I have often wondered about. After seeing some of the benefits (& knowing there aren't serious side effects) it seems obvious the choice we should all make! Check out this article on the benefits of a sugar-free diet!

This makes me feel so much better. I won't have to ditch the box of Equal I bought for my tea!
You might want to check out this article on how coffee may be good for you.

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