– A substitute of sugar which is not natural and used to make things sweet in taste without adding sugar and less in food energy or calories is known as artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners consumption is increasing day by day. We are surprisingly consuming them in soft drinks, sugar free chewing gums, instant food items, cupcakes, candies, and biscuits, gelatin desserts etc. Mostly they are used by diabetics or people who are trying to lose weight. While using them one should be cautious enough as some studies conducted on rats reveal that they can increase the risk of cancer, decrease our metabolism and can cause preterm delivery.
Artificial Sweeteners and its Effects:
- Hunger Issue: Artificial sweeteners are meant to assist in weight loss as they carry zero calorie. When we eat or drink some sweet food by adding artificial sweeteners then our calorie intake is less and we don’t feel full as calorie intake is minimized and we tend to eat more.
- Effect on Diabetics: diabetics can taste sugary foods and satisfy their taste buds by adding artificial sweeteners without any risk on their blood sugar levels. However some studies reveal the fact that substitution of sugary food and beverages by artificial sweeteners reduce the amount of sugar in their diets.Notwithstanding studies have showed that consuming beverages containing artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
- Weight management: the gold standard in scientific research — report says that artificial sweeteners can actually help in managing weight if we substitute regular soft drinks with sugar-free beverages. They can help reduce the belly fat and body mass. That doesn’t mean that if sugar-free option is available then you can take sugary drinks and diet soda without increasing your weight. As this might increase your craving for sugary foods leading to weight gain.
- Effect on Metabolic Rate:Some studies says that diet soda drinkers are at 36% higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Artificial sweeteners actually fail to strike a balance between the intake of calories and the actual body requirement of energy and sugar level. Our body gets confused and so the metabolism rate of our body.
- Argument on Cancer: It started when studies on animal revealed that when fed with intensely high amounts of saccharin and cyclamate resulted in increased risk of bladder cancer in mice.Cyclamate as artificial sweetener is banned in US after some studies showed the link between cancer and artificial sweetener consumption.
- Gut & Dental Well-Being: Healthy Gut bacteria is vital for our health as it prevents many diseases like weight gain, unsteady immune system, insomnia, diabetes & metabolic syndrome. It is affected by an individual’s eating habit. According to a study artificial sweeteners can disturb the health of gut bacteria leading to health problems but more research is needed to prove it.
Tooth decay is the result of acid produced by the bacteria found in fermented sugar in our mouth. Artificial sweeteners do not revert back to the bacteria and thus acid is not formed to cause tooth problems.
- Headaches & Depression:Some sensitive people can feel uneasiness like headaches, depression and seizures after consuming artificial sweeteners.Types of artificial sweeteners used in India:
- Saccharin: zero-calorie sweetener and 300 times sweeter than table sugar.in India its name is Sweet n Low.
- Aspartame: 180 times sweeter than sugar and 1 g of aspartame contains 4 calories. In Indiait’s marketed under the names of Equal, Nutrasweet, Equal Measure, etc.
- Sucralose: contains no calories and 600 times sweeter than sugar and known to be the best sweetener in market as Sugar Free Natura and Splenda.
- Acesulfame potassium: zero calorie sweetener and 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It is appropriate for cooking and baking. It is marketed under the name of Sunnet or Sweet One.
Artificial Sweetener and their sweetness:
When we taste food our taste buds present on our tongue distinguishes different flavors. When different food molecules come in association with taste receptors they send a signal to brain allowing us to analyze the taste.
Molecules of artificial sweeteners resemble to those of sugar molecules and so the receptor of sweetness tastes it as sweet.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners are very different from each other in terms of calories. Artificial sweeteners as compare to table sugar contains negligible amount of calories because our body cannot break down its structure to convert it into calories.
Weight studio suggests that excessive use of artificial sweeteners can mess up with our health. To avoid sugar content in our diet we should not be solely dependent on artificial sweeteners rather include natural sugar alternatives in our diet. They are less refined and thus more nutritional for our health like honey, molasses, coconut –sugar & maple syrup. They contain little fructose and vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and high in zinc, manganese, iron and potassium and the natural sugar present in it won’t harm you.
So try to be sweet but avoid having sweets.