Sugar has been lauded as one of the unhealthiest food substance that people take. This is particularly the case for refines sugar. As, such, people have considerably cut down their sugar intake and are opting for alternative substitutes for sugar. This is where artificial sweeteners come in. Artificial sweeteners offer people an alternative way of sweetening their food and drinks while eliminating the use of sugar. However, as much as it has been sold to people that artificial sweeteners are a good substitute for sugar there are concerns over their use. The use of artificial sweeteners is one of the biggest nutrition myths that have been sold to people and they are even linked to the prospect of promoting weight loss.
Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are substances that are used to replace sugar in the diet and they are sweeter than sugar so normally, a subtle amount may be required instead of sugar. The FDA regulates these substances because there is a possibility that taken in large amounts they may cause the human body more harm than the normal sugar (Yang, 2010, p. 101).
There has been ongoing research to determine if there is a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer. This came about when research indicated that there is a link between one type of artificial sweetener called saccharin and cancer in test animals. However, ongoing research is still inconclusive about the association of this prospect in human beings. It therefore brings doubt to the mind if a substance has to be regulated by the FDA and researched to determine if it is safe for human consumption, is it not better to take normal sugar but in limited quantity to combat the negative effects of sugar. The Congress even went further and gave the mandate that additional research should be carried out to determine the safety of artificial sweeteners and all foods that have saccharin a an additive have a label that warns people that the product may be harmful to their health (Malik, 2006. P, 274).
Some artificial sweeteners have also been known to have negative health effect in the human body. For instance, Xylitol, a type of artificial sweetener has been noted to cause water retention in the body and to bloat. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is made from hardwood trees such as birch and has thirty percent few calories compared to normal sugar. Looking at this fact, it is evident that such a sweetener is not the best substitute for normal sugar. Some artificial sweeteners like stevia leave a bitter aftertaste that is not pleasant.
It is important to note that artificial sweeteners may heighten the taste buds of consumers and this make then have a propensity for sweeter foods (Weihrauch & Diehl, 2004). This is because artificial sweeteners are way sweeter than sugar, some have even been said to be two hundred times sweeter than sugar. When taste buds get used to a high sugar concentration, they may find it hard to adjust to foods that are of normal sweetness. This may counter the effect that people look for when they choose to substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners. Many people who substitute sugar with sweeteners do so because they believe that they will be taking in fewer calories and as such may be able to control and even reduce weight gain and combat weight-related issues. This may also have an adverse health effect on diabetics who may opt for sweeteners instead of sugar in a bid to control their sugar intake and control their blood sugar levels.
Given the facts about sweeteners, and also, the information that they are not the ideal substitute for sugar. They may be able to help people wean themselves away from sugar if they are used correctly and within the recommended bound. However, given the fact in nutrition, natural is always a better alternative to artificial, it would be better for people t substitute sugar with natural alternatives than rush to artificial sweeteners. Such substitutes may include honey as a natural replacement. Honey is a perfectly safe substitute since it is made from natural products with no artificial process.
Nutrition myths sometimes work to make people adhere to a regimen without giving all the facts. This is what create fat that surrounds the nutrition and diet faculty. It is important for people to get all their dietary and nutrition facts so they may make better food choices armed with the correct information. Looking at nutrition myths helps people also to determine and separate the facts from the lies and speculations that surround nutrition. Myths give people the wrong information and may make people waste their money in a bid to eat healthily yet they are following a regimen that has no benefit to them and their lifestyles.
Malik, V. S., Schulze, M. B., & Hu, F. B. (2006). Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 84(2), 274-288.
Weihrauch, M. R., & V. Diehl. "Artificial sweetenersdo they bear a carcinogenic risk?." Annals of Oncology 15.10 (2004): 1460-1465.
Yang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by going diet? Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 83(2), 101.
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