Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Skinny on Artificial Sweetners

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low): Discovered in 1879, saccharin is a noncaloric derivative of coal tar; 300 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar); Saccharin in large quantities has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory anicmals.

Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste): Derived from 2 amino acids, it contains 4 calories per gram; 180 times sweeter than sucrose; The safety of aspartame has veeb questioned because it has been associated with headaches, dizziness, or fatigue (all possible allergic reactions); health agencies do not consider it a risk.

Acesulfame Potassium (Sunnet, Sweet One): Approved in 1988 as a tabletop sweetner; 200 times sweeter than sucrose; The CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) suggests that this should be avoided but tests were inadequate and the FDA approved it based on animal studies.

Sucralose (Splenda): Discovered in 1976 and approved in 1988 after extensive study and testing; It is a no calorie sweetener made from sugar; tastes like and can be used like sugar, with no unpleasant aftertaste; The body does not recognize it as a carbohydrate, so it passes thru the body without being broken down for energy.

Stevia (Sweet Leaf, Honey Leaf, Truvia): Derived from South American shrub and hundreds times sweeter than sugar; Most health organizations have concluded that it should not be added to food because of its carcinogenic effects (can cause cancer in large doses); The DSHEA allows it to be sold as a supplement.

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