Artificial sweeteners, what is it all about anyway?
- Jul 18, 2018
- Dom Bish
- 0 Comment(s)
Artificial sweeteners; what is it all about anyway?
As with many things in our foods and beverages, it can be hard to tell what is actually 'good, bad or ugly'. With so much attention on sugar, especially in soft drinks, it could be easy to assume that 'sugar free' is best. However, if it is not sugar, then what is it making all those yummy things... yummy and sweet?
Artificial sweeteners, or sweetening additives have the benefit of being many times sweeter than sugar with no or low kilojoules. This means that far smaller quantities are needed to produce the same sweetness. Without the extra kilojoules, artificial sweetners don't contribute to weight gain in the same way that sugar does.
Consumer.org.nz mentions that although many sweetening additives are considered safe for consumption, this only applies to consumption within the daily recommended doses. The issue is that many people are likely to exceed the daily recommended intake, especially with cyclamate, due to the vast array of products and the large consumption of those products, containing this additive. The type of products using cyclamate include cordials, fizzy drinks, fruit drinks as it is 40 times as sweet as sugar.
The big one that still gets attention is aspartame and its association with multiple sclerosis, vision problems, Alzheimer’s, and tumours. Stevia and erythritol are two sweeteners used in common 'organic' soft drinks sold here in New Zealand, and are generally considered safer alternatives.
As with so much in our foods, it is hard to tell which is 'right' and which is 'wrong'. All sugars and sugar substitutes have their benefits and issues (or risks). Being informed about the differences allows us to make better decisions and choices about our foods.
| A chart from the Mayo Clinic