Artificial sweeteners: a healthy option Artificial sweeteners: a healthy option

Artificial sweeteners: a healthy option

Special 27 October, 2016 Isabel Vallejo

Artificial sweeteners are substances that are used to sweeten foods and are more healthy alternatives than sucrose, or table sugar, which supplies the body with four calories per gram and has no nutritious value.

According to the webpage MedlinePlus, sugar substitutes are recommended in weight-loss diets, help to reduce the presence of cavities and serves to sweeten the foods and drinks of people living with diabetes. There are many types of artificial sweeteners, however. The recommendation is to choose those that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to be aware of their specific properties:

  • Aspartame: Is 220 times sweeter than sucrose; it loses its sweetness, however, when it is exposed to heat. It works better with drinks than with baked goods. It has not proved to provoke any serious side effects according to various studies.

  • Sucrose: Is 600% sweeter than sugar and is generally used in diet food products and drinks such as chewing gum, frozen desserts and fruit juice. It can also be added to cooked foods.

  • Saccharin: it can have a bitter flavor and is not used to cook or bake. It is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sucrose and is mostly used in diet drinks. While it is approved by the FDA, the American Medical Association suggests that it be avoided during pregnancy due to the fact that it can take the baby a long time to eliminate it from its body.

  • Stevia: Comes from the sweet leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, is approved as an additive for foods and is also considered a dietary supplement.

With any of these, that these products should be consumed in moderation and it is important to be aware of any possible reactions or sensitivities to them. If a strange reaction occurs, it is best to immediately suspend consumption and to see a doctor.