I wrote about soft drinks and the affects it has on our bodies in an earlier post so I decided to investigate the artificial sweeteners and sugars used in drinks further and what really is the better option. The only way to stay completely stay away from the dangers of sugar and artificial sweeteners is repaving them with other options. Instead of soda maybe water ad instead of dessert maybe fresh fruit with natural sugars.
There are only 5 FDA approved artificial sweeteners: sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), neotame, and saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low). It is hard decision when debating which sweetener to use. “It’s a taste issue,” says Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health. “They each have separate taste effects and different people react differently to each of them.” Although this is true I think this is a possible bias because I think nowadays people are more health concious about what drinks they consume. People choose diet sodas because they feel that they are a healthier alternative to regular soda. Artificial sweeteners may not be a better option, just a different taste.
My mother uses Stevia with her tea every day and it has 150 times the sweetness of sugar but there are health concerns and it has been prohibited in the US until 2008. Stevia is a natural sweetener but companies refine it a great deal before it is released to the public making it a somewhat artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners trick your body by using less quantity to trigger your bodies receptors and this is why you will taste a stronger taste if you eat one sweet n low packet rather than a sugar packet.
One of my main concerns with artificial sweeteners is the unpredictability. There are many people who believe artificial sweeteners cause cancer in people and there isn’t conclusive evidence supporting this yet but its certainly a possibility. There has been an association with cancer and artificial sweeteners in rats which have some people questioning sweeteners safety. Sweeteners like Aspartame and Saccharin have gone through studies and have been taken off the market due to risk to humans and this is what makes me question other artificial sweeteners.
In regards to the choice between sugar and artificial sweeteners, http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/15/health/artificial-sweeteners-soda/ has a great explanation on the benefits of both. Sugar is suggested more for the taste and artificial sweeteners for people trying to lose weight because they don’t have calories. The one problem is they trick your body by making it believe its going to get sugar and it doesn’t always know how to respond.
Like in class when we learned about how cigarettes were once thought of as healthy I think the same aspect can be connected with things like phones, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. I believe that since there is so much unknown about how the body deals with artificial sweeteners the best thing to do is stay away from it. Look for substitutes and limit all the sweets you eat.