Artificial Sweeteners-Part 1

Today, I will be talking about nonnutritive sweeteners AKA artificial sweeteners. You know...the sweeteners in a blue, yellow, pink packet. Examples of NNSs are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, potassium, sucralose, and neotame. Were first introduced into the food supply in the late 1800s and first approved for use as a food additive in 1958. Stevia, on the other hand, has been approved by the FDA as "generally recognized as safe"--meaning there is insufficient evidence for ensuring the ongoing acquisition of safety data. So far, human studies show no relationship between saccharin intake and stomach, pancreatic, and endometrial cancer. To date, there is no consistent or conclusive evidence that NNS use lends to a reduction in total caloric intake and thereby weight loss in humans or animal models. However, there are no studies demonstrating the long term safety of the use of NNSs. This has been difficult b/c manufactured products containing NNSs are not required to specify the content of NNS in a product so its difficult to quantify our consumption. Also, although manufacturers must report that a particular product contains a sweetener, there is no obligation to state the amount of sweetener a product contains. Did you know that NNS can also be found in our drinking water? So, for those who believe that they haven't been exposed to may find detectable levels of NNs in their urine. Most of us consume NNSs in carbonated beverages (greatest contribution) as well as chewing gum, oral rehydration solutions, and mouthwash. So again, you can see why it is difficult to ascertain how much one is consuming on an individual level and population level. This concludes part 1 of my info about NNSs. In the next part I will discuss whether or not NNSs help with weight loss, knowing what we know, is it a good alternative to SSBs? Does it have an effect on diabetes? and other potential health effects.

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