Artificial sweeteners are non-nutritive and not as healthy as thought

2013-11-13 10:51
Sugar

People concerned about weight control and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have generally welcomed the use of non-nutritive sweeteners to replace sugar. These sweeteners taste very good and are helpful for keeping your daily caloric intake down. However, concerns have been raised about the possible negative effects on your health from consuming too much of these non-nutritive sweeteners.

People concerned about weight control and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have generally welcomed the use of non-nutritive sweeteners to replace sugar. These sweeteners taste very good and are helpful for keeping your daily caloric intake down. However, concerns have been raised about the possible negative effects on your health from consuming too much of these non-nutritive sweeteners.

Low-calorie sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, and noncaloric sweeteners have been labelled as non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) by the American Heart Association. They are labelled this way because they do not offer any nutritional benefits and they are low in calories or have no calories.

The FDA has labelled 5 NNSs as safe

The label “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS), has been given by the FDA to five NNSs

1: Aspartame (NutraSweet® and Equal®)

2: Acesulfame-K (Sweet One®)

3: Neotame

4: Saccharin (Sweet’N Low®)

5: Sucralose (Splenda®)

Stevia (Truvia® and PureVia®) is not on this FDA list at this time. This means there is not enough evidence presently about this product to make a final determination. In the meantime the AHA strongly recommends limiting the consumption of added sugars. With too much sugar you may experience weight gain. Aside from obesity, this added sugar can lead to an increase in triglyceride levels, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Furthermore, foods and drinks that are high in added sugars with many calories and low nutritional value often take the place of foods which have better nutritional value.

Researchers have highlighted that obesity has actually become an epidemic problem across the United States and worldwide, as reported upon in Nutrition Journal. There are many issues involved in the development of obesity, including:

1: Poor dietary habits

2: Inadequate physical activity

3: Hormonal issues

4: Sedentary lifestyle

5: Psychological issues

EmaxHealth reporter Denise Reynolds RD, writes about concerns that children may be born addicted to junk food. The costs associated with increased morbidity and mortality associated with obesity are very high and range in the billions of dollars annually. Dietary interventions are the most popular form of intervention for obesity. Many diets are fads with very little if any scientific evidence to validate how effective they are.

NNSs are marketed aggressively

Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) have been marketed as helping to lose weight fast. This has been popular because sugar is a significant contributing factor to many health problems. Too much sugar consumption is directly associated with obesity and an increase in dental diseases.
Many foods, particularly those which are marketed for kids, are loaded with sugar. Obesity associated health problems, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension, are therefore often associated with the consumption of too much sugar by children and adults.

Manufacturers of NNSs have been promoting their products aggressively due to the health problems associated with sugar. NNSs are being marketed as being safe for children and adults. Various catchy words such as artificial sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, non-caloric sweeteners, and sugar substitutes are being used to market these products. However, even though the FDA and many published studies support these additives as being safe, there is not adequate research to actually support the use of NNSs as being healthy to use on a regular basis.

Intake of both NNS and sugar should be limited

Therefore, at this time moderate use of NNSs should be considered as useful as a dietary aid for someone suffering from diabetes or who needs to lose weight. Otherwise, for optimal health these researchers recommend only minimal amounts of both sugar and NNS be consumed. EmaxHealth reporter Deborah Mitchell writes on the controversy surrounding consumption of no-calorie sweeteners and type 2 diabetes.

I have witnessed the catastrophic rise in cases of obesity and associated diabetes and heart disease. People are often not very receptive to cut out sugar loaded soda pop and other sugary food and switch to healthier drinks such as fresh water and low sugar foods, due to what appears to be an addiction to sugar.

It amazes me when I am at the supermarket and I see obese mothers and fathers with their obese children fill up their shopping carts with soda pop which is loaded with sugar and calories, and sugary candy. This is really tragic. More and more people who take advice to stop consuming too much sugar switch to soda pop and other food products which are made with NNSs. Due to the unsettled nature of the controversy surrounding NNSs, at this time I support recommendations to limit the intake of both NNS and sugar.

Ads by Google

Comments

Actually, as this article points out, low-calorie sweeteners are FDA-approved and are considered safe for consumption. The message of moderation advocated here applies to all calories we consume. After all it’s total calorie intake balanced with physical activity that helps manage a healthy weight - preventing obesity and other health conditions. Singling out one ingredient or source of calories as the culprit driving public health challenges is not at all rooted in science; and it’s counterproductive.
I think the message should be clear that artificial or any added sweetener can easily be avoided. Why use them at all? It just makes the brain crave sweets and artificial sweeteners are the target of a lot of research showing they're not good for us.