The Truth on Artificial Sweeteners

By: Nicole Holt Email
By: Nicole Holt Email

For almost thirty years now, artificial sweeteners have poured into American homes, and like anything on the market today, it's controversial.

“This is a non-nutritive sweetener it is not vital to our diet, does not contain nutrients or vitamins or minerals for diet so if it is a problem you don't use it.” Roylyn Selvy is a dietitian with Texoma Medical Center. With her help, we will decipher the truth about artificial sweeteners!

“There are five approved artificial sweeteners non-nutritive sweeteners approved by the FDA. They are Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Neotame.” Better known as Equal, Sweet-n-Low, and Splenda. So which one is better for you?

According to Selvy, they all have about the same nutritional content. The Food and Drug Administration defines artificial sweeteners as high-intensity sugar substitutes. The concern? Recent studies suggest, not prove, these sweeteners could cause cancer. ‘To date, none of those studies have shown yet conclusively that there is any problems.”

If you have something called "PKU," a rare genetic disorder that only affects about 15-thousand Americans--aspartame or saccharin could be a health risk. “They can not readily assimilate this sweetener and probably not use it. There is warning label on product that indicates that.”

But if you're a normal healthy American trying to shed a few pounds, artificial sweeteners seem to be the way to go. Splenda has taken the nation by storm. Since the late 90's, the product has become a household name. Whether its baking, cooking, or enjoying that favorite drink, Splenda at 600 times more sweet than table sugar is sure to satisfy that sweet tooth.

What about diet sodas vs. the real thing? Selvy says, “Started out with a smaller bottle. Currently today, what we consider small is our 20oz. That’s around 725 grams of carbs, approximately this much sugar. If we drink 6-12 pack of these a day or large gulps or big ones we can end up with a huge amount of sugar that we take just from a beverage a day.”

Diabetics watch out, that’s sure to send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing. “Sugar free is a label that would tell us it had 0 calories, nothing in it that could harm us, we could have as much as we want. Really and truly that is all that means, it does not have table sugar or white sugar in it.”

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