The Bitter Reality of Sugar-Free Sweets
Sugar-free sweets have been the mantra over the past few years. We see a lot more sweet shops marketing themselves with artificial sweeteners for the diabetic and diet conscious clientele. Binge eating arising out of the craving for sugar is commonly noticed among people on diet and opting for artificial sweeteners.
Most of my friends who are diet conscious say, they are cutting down calories by completely replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners.
Most of them have a habit of chewing gums and mint after their meal or in their leisure time, but no one looks into their ingredients?
Aspartame, Saccharin, Acesulfame potassium or Acesulfame K and Sucralose are a few common artificial sweeteners available in the market under various trade names (packed fruit juices, mint chewing gums, sugar-free tablets, polo etc). But do you know the bitter truth of all these sweeteners?
Effect of Artifical Sweeteners on Your Health
A combination of sweeteners such as Saccharin and Cyclamate are used to reduce the bitter and metallic taste. Cyclamate, a first generation artificial sweetener, is known to cause cancer of the brain and bladder.
Saccharin and aspartame (found in sugar-free tablets, polo etc) have been the major artificial sweeteners accused of being carcinogenic, including bladder distention, elevated urine osmolality, and bladder cancer.
High fructose corn syrup (in fruit juices) and sucrose (white sugar) certainly cause obesity because they both contain fructose, and fructose induces lipogenesis (the fat deposit mechanism) within the liver. Added sugar in the diet is empty calories and should be avoided by an individual who wishes to avoid obesity.
Aspartame (found in sugar-free tablets), has been thought to cause brain damage because of one of its component molecules, phenylalanine. Phenylalanine causes brain damage and dysfunction in people who have a genetic disease (homozygous phenylketonuria) that renders them unable to metabolize phenylalanine, resulting in possible brain damage and neurological disorders.
Permissible Levels and Alternatives
The permissible limit of taking artificial sweeteners is 40 mg per kilo body weight. Alternately one can use honey, a safe natural sweetener. Stevia also can be used. Using artificial sweeteners for making sweets even at home is not the correct way to reduce calorie intake
According to a study done in Lucknow, the average and maximum amount of saccharin in pan flavorings was 12.2 and 20.1%, i.e. 1.52- and 2.5-fold higher than the permissible limits of the PFA Act. Individuals consuming more of pan masala are susceptible to toxic effects of saccharin, including bladder distention, elevated urine osmolality, and bladder cancer.