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Artificial Sweeteners, Adverse Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Context (LM | TG): After WHO declared Aspartame as ‘potentially cancer-causing’, now another artificial sweetener called Sucralose is under scanner as it can cause DNA damage and leaky gut.
  • Artificial sweeteners (or non-sugar sweeteners) are intensely sweet chemicals (several times sweeter than sugar) used to sweeten food while adding very little or no calories.
  • WHO has recently suggested not to use artificial sweeteners to control weight gain or prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.
  • The artificial sweeteners WHO has warned against are acesulfame K (Ace-K), aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia.
  • Leaky gut refers to increased intestinal permeability, potentially allowing substances to enter the bloodstream instead of being properly eliminated.

Adverse Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

  • Natural sugar/glucose is processed and either stored as glycogen (the stored form of glucose in the liver) or turned into fatty acids and deposited into fat cells. However, the human body isn’t designed to process artificial sweeteners (human-made chemicals).
  • Though artificial sweeteners could lead to weight loss and reduction in body mass index (BMI) in the short term, they might cause weight gain in the long run.
  • Higher intake of these sweeteners increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • They can also cause bladder cancer and preterm birth (when consumed by pregnant women).
Artificial Sweetener Source
Sucralose Made from adding chlorine to sugar molecules.
Saccharin The oldest artificial sweetener.

Made from benzoic sulfonimine, which is up to 700 times sweeter than table sugar.

Acesulfame Made from acesulfame potassium.
Aspartame Made from the amino acids phenylalanine, aspartic acid and includes methanol.
Neotame Similar to aspartame and made from phenylalanine and aspartic acid.
Stevia Extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. The extracts are processed before they’re packaged and sold, putting them in the same category as an artificial sweetener.
Sugar alcohols Sugar molecules with alcohol attached. Naturally occurrs in some fruits.
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