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Artificial sweeteners: what you need to know

Artificial sweeteners what you need to know

Artificial sweeteners have become popular in the past few decades as a good alternative to sugar. White sugar in general has been demonized for weight gain, and even though this is a false statement, artificial sweeteners have made their way in our every day diet. The main use of these sweeteners are to lower caloric intake and to keep insulin levels low, making them ideal for weight management.

Artificial sweeteners are in most foods around us. All processed foods contain them at some level. Sodas, candy, canned goods, flavoured dairy product and baked goods being the main ones.

The most common questions I hear concerning them is A. Are they safe? and B. Do they trick your body into storing fat?

Short answer:

Yes they areNo they don’t

Read on to know about the sciency reasons behind those answers.

A bit more on artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can be classified into two categories:

Artificial sweeteners (AS): chemical compounds created by chemistry

Non caloric sweeteners (NCS): natural compounds found in nature with zero caloric value

The main AS out there are:

Acesulfame Potassium: this chemical compound is created by combining acetoacetic acid with potassium. 200 times sweeter than sugar

Sucralose: made by chlorination (adding chlorine atoms) to sucrose. 600 times sweeter than sugar

Aspartame: made by combining phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid. 200 times sweeter than sugar

Saccharin: made from the oxidation of o-toluenesulfonamide. 200-700 times sweeter than sugar

Common NCS include:

Stevia: comes from a plant. 250 times sweeter than sugar