Artifical Sweetners

You’ve heard the words Splenda, Nutrasweet, Saccharin (which is Sweet ‘N Low) and Stevia among others.  Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories.  Artificial sweeteners are many times sweetener than sugar, so it takes a smaller amount to sweeten foods.  This is why foods made with artificial sweeteners may have fewer calories than those made with sugar.

Image Courtesy: PunchingJudy

Artifical sweeteners don’t affect your blood sugar level.  In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered to be “free foods” because they don’t count as a carbohydrate, a fat or any other diabetes exchange.  However, other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar levels.

Sucralose otherwise known as Splenda appears to be safe, although there hasn’t been much independent testing.  Sucralose isn’t as natural as ads have implied.  It is made by chlorinating sugar molecules.

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) may slightly increase cancer risk according to two recent studies.  New studies should be conducted.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low) has been reported to cause cancer of the urinary bladder, uterus, ovaries, skin blood vessels and other organs in animal studies.

Stevia has been added to Coke and Pepsi recently.  It appears to be safe, though there should be more independent testing.  As a sweetener from packets the taste can be bitter.  Which means very little is needed.