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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Sweeteners >>  Artificial Sugar Substitutes

Substitute for Sugar

Artificial sweetener or sugar substitutes are chemicals that are calorie free but provide the sweetness of sugar. It is basically a food additive used in various products that attempts to duplicate the effects of sugar. They are many times sweeter than sugar, thus a small quantity is enough to equate large quantities of sugar. Unlike sugar some of the artificial sweeteners may have an unpleasant after taste. Sugar is a favorite and most overused substance world wide.
But sugar provides calories and excess sugar consumption is related to many health problems like obesity and anxiety. It is important to satisfy the sweet tooth, but this can be done by replacing sugar with artificial sugar substitutes.

People with diabetes mellitus have difficulty in metabolizing sugar in blood. An artificial sweetener is a wise choice for them as they can enjoy the sweet taste of the food without leaving any sugar in the blood to metabolize. As artificial sweeteners provide zero calories it is used by many individuals to have control over their weight or used as a part of weight loss plan. Sugar substitutes are not fermented by the micro flora of the dental plaque and thus are non-carriogenic.

Five low calorie sweeteners are approved by Food and Drug Administration and have established an ‘acceptable daily intake’ (ADI) for each sweetener to avoid its abuse. These sweeteners can be used in a variety of food products and the ADI depicts the maximum amount that is considered safe to consume each day for life time.
  1. Aspartame – 50 mg per kg body weight
  2. Saccharin – 5 mg per kg body weight
  3. Acesulfame K – 15 mg per kg body weight
  4. Sucralose – 5 mg per kg body weight
  5. Neotame – 18 mg a day
Except aspartame all artificial sugars are heat stable and can be used for baking or cooking purposes. Lead acetate is an artificial sugar substitute made from lead which was used extensively in the past. But habitual consumption of this sweetener eventually may lead to lead poisoning. There are various studies conducted to assess the safety of artificial sweeteners due to the concerns of it being carcinogenic and causing other health problems. But all the studies confirm that artificial sweeteners are safe to use for healthy population. However people with phenylketonuria (PKU) should use aspartame with caution as they can not metabolize it. One should keep in mind that a sugar free product does not mean a caloric free product. Artificial sugar substitutes can be used over sugar confidently as it has many other benefits, but should be used sensibly for instance it is a good idea to replace diet soda with normal soda but that should not be the only beverage in a persons diet.
Submitted on February 24, 2009