Are Artificial Sweeteners Good for You?

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Some short term studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may help you lose weight while other research raises a concern that they may be harmful for the body. Knowing which sweeteners you should buy or avoid may improve your health and even save you money on your term life insurance policy. Below are some artificial sweeteners, how they differ, and the pros and cons of each type.

Sucralose (Splenda)

Splenda contains the artificial sweetener sucralose along with maltodextrin. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Splenda can change the texture in baking recipes and can add an ”artificial” taste when used as the only sweetener in the recipe. It has no calories, is not considered a carbohydrate by the body and has no effect on blood sugar levels. The FDA found it to have no toxic or carcinogenic effects and to pose no reproductive or neurologic risk to humans, although some critics claim that preliminary animal research has linked Splenda to organ damage.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)

Saccharin, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar, is an organic molecule made from petroleum. Saccharin went from being banned in the 1970s to being considered one of the safest of all artificial sweeteners by some. Recent human studies have found some evidence that it may contribute to bladder cancer, but no ban was enacted and the warning label on saccharin was dropped. Some research suggests that parents should limit young children’s intake of saccharin and that women use it carefully during pregnancy.

Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal)

Aspartame is America’s most popular artificial sweetener and is a combination of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. It is 180-200 times sweeter than sugar. Most of our aspartame intake is from soft drinks. Aspartame adds almost no calories to foods or drinks as only a tiny amount of aspartame is required to mimic the sweetness of sugar. A small number of people claim they have had allergic reactions to aspartame, ranging from skin reactions to respiratory problems and others have reported central nervous system side effects, like headaches, dizziness and mood changes.

Acesulfame-K (Sunette or Sweet One)

Acesulfame-K is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is approved by the FDA as a tabletop sweetener and an additive to desserts, confections and alcoholic beverages. It doesn’t increase the risk of cancer or affect blood-sugar levels, according to government agencies. It isn’t broken down by the body during digestion and is excreted from the body unchanged and when used on its own, this sweetener can have a bitter taste.

Stevia (Stevioside)

Stevia is an herb that is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar and is calorie-free. It comes from a plant in South America. Stevia has been used in South America for centuries. It has not gone through the FDA approval process for use as an artificial sweetener as it is sold as a dietary supplement, not a sweetener. The FDA believes Stevia’s safety has not yet been proven.

As you can see, artificial sugars are not necessarily great for you. Should you choose to go the artificial route, remember, everything in moderation. And this should only be part of your plan to for healthy living. Eating right and exercising as well as lowering your sugar intake should help you improve your health and save money on your term life insurance policy.

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