Artificial Sweeteners: Name List, Types, Health Risks, and Safest Alternative

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Nia 23 Dec, 2019

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

An artificial sweetener (also called a sugar substitute) is an addictive chemical that tastes like sugar or corn syrup and sweetens foods. It is designed to suit the daily dietary needs of diabetics who cannot eat sugar in its regular form. An artificial sweetener has a much lower calorific value than white sugar, which means that it can sweeten the food more than sugar.

It has been conclusively proved that these sugar substitutes may cause you to gain weight. These chemicals trigger insulin response insulin in the body and it would be stored in the cell tissues. This causes us to gain weight because now excess calories and fats are stored in those cells.

List of artificial sweeteners

Here are some different types of common artificial sweeteners:

1. Intense sweeteners

2. Very low-calorie sweeteners

3. Sugar substitutes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following zero-nutrition sugar subs:

1. Saccharin

2. Aspartame

3. Acesulfame potassium

3. Sucralose

4. Neotame

Comparing sugar substitute to sugar

is stevia an artificial or natural sweetener?

Sugar has been one of the best sweetening agents used by mankind for ages. Made of sugarcane juice, these white or brown crystals make our foods and desserts tastier. But this comes at the cost of dilating our blood cells, causing heart ailments, shooting up blood sugar levels, increasing bad cholesterol, and making us addicted to eating sweets.

Sugar substitutes like aspartame and saccharin offer the same sweetening experience without any calories. They could be a lot sweeter than sugar, and thus they are needed a lot less in quantity to make a difference.

These artificial additives also do not cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. They rather have a more calming and satiating effect on your appetite, thus helping you to eat less than you usually do. However, this also makes you eat more sweets and fast foods because you may not feel satisfied with lower blood sugar levels.

Is stevia an artificial sweetener?

No, stevia is a natural sweetener. It occurs as a plant that’s native to South America and Asia, and its leaves are used to make sweeteners.

Are artificial sweeteners safe?

There is no best artificial sweetener that can help you lose weight in a healthy and safe manner. If you are a diabetic and are looking to burn some flab, using sugar substitutes won’t help you. You should consider natural sweeteners like honey to cut down on your sugar and stevia.

Their prolonged usage could lead you to a large number of health issues, as we shall discuss later.

What is the best or safest artificial sweetener for diabetics?

There is no “best sweetener” that could serve everyone’s health needs, especially if you are diabetic. But here are some alternatives that you could choose:

  • Stevia

  • Tagatose

  • Saccharin

  • Neotame

  • Xylitol

  • Stevia leaf extracts

  • Monk fruit extract

  • Erythritol

  • Sucralose

    •  Aspartame

  • Acesulfame potassium

It is important to use them only after consulting a healthcare professional. He would help you with the best option you could take as per your medical history and dietary preferences.

Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?

side effects of artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes

The main aim of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose is to satisfy your sweet craving without loading you with calories. Such chemical-based solutions may offer side effects that significantly outweigh any health benefits that these products are sold with. One may also experience severe health implications with prolonged use and they can require medical assistance.

Following are some of the severe side effects of artificial sweeteners:

You could eat more food

When people consume foods with artificial sweeteners, they tend to rate them as healthy food items. People forget that though it is low in sugar, it still contains calories in the form of carbs, fats, and proteins- and they can together create havoc on their diet plans.

Many studies have shown that the number of calories consumed from foods with natural sweeteners and foods with artificial sweeteners is almost the same. It simply means that there is no calorie reduction merely by switching from one source to another.

You could eat more fats and carbs

These sweeteners are used in bakeries to make high-carb foods like pastries and fast foods. It is important to note that while insulin stimulated from carbohydrates is important for energy, any excess sugar or starch is converted into fat and cholesterol. This could be dangerous for people suffering from diabetes and obesity.

3. Your sweet cravings could increase

Sweet flavors sizzle the taste buds and increase the appetite, regardless of their source. Sugar substitutes taste just as sweet and they increase your temptations for sweet and carbohydrate products. You may eat fewer calories when you have them.

Also read: Best Tips To Crush Cravings And Beat Anxiety

Your metabolism could slow down

Your body does not get fooled by the sweet taste without the associated calories. The scientific reason is that your brain releases a hormone called dopamine when you eat something sweet. It sends out appetite-regulating signals and activates the brain’s rewards system.

This plays an important role in informing your senses that you are full now. Since you're trying to trick your body with some non-natural sweetening solutions, the results will not be consistent with the received number of calories. This would result in overeating.

Research refutes the diet claim

Studies highlight that sugar subs may stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and lead to metabolic dysfunctions related to fat storage and weight gain. The study does not support the use of artificial sweeteners to lose some extra weight and to stay in shape.

The good thing is that you can start from some easy no-equipment workouts at your home to negate this threat over a while. There is nothing better than eating in controlled amounts and working out every day (or doing meditation) to calm one’s mind and resist temptations.

Top 10 dangers of artificial sweeteners

dangers of artificial sweeteners

Though sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin may benefit people suffering from diabetes or high blood sugar levels, their inappropriate use can also pose severe health-based challenges. Instead of using natural or artificial sweeteners, you should try natural alternatives like fresh fruit juices or honey.

Taking these artificial sweeteners for a long time can have the following severe side effects:

1. Headaches

2. Seizures

3. Dizziness

4. Mental fog

5. Migraine

6. Blurred vision

7. Allergy

8. Nausea

9. Multiple sclerosis

10. Alzheimer’s disease

The ill effects of eating sugary foods for a longer period of time can be best termed unwelcome. We recommend checking with your fitness trainer, healthcare expert, or nutritionist to figure out what works out best for you.

Depending on your lifestyle pattern and medical history, they can suggest the best possible alternative and a matching diet plan. It would thus mean that you could eat your favorite sugar-free desserts and drinks, and still have little to no health risks.

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