Are Artificial Sweeteners Better Sugar Substitutes?

Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners or intense sweeteners are synthetically produced sugar substitute. These artificial sweeteners are being widely used in processed foods like candies, baked products, dairy products, jellies, jams and other foods and beverages. The increasing demand for low-calorie foods is resulting in the growth of artificial sweeteners. However, researchers have found that artificial sweeteners can potentially disrupt body’s ability to regulate blood sugar level.

New study claims artificial sweeteners can affect brain and heart health

New research has shown that artificial sweeteners can have a bad impact on heart and brain. In an effort to reduce sugar intake, many people are consuming diet sodas consisting of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. However, a new study by Boston University revealed that people who consume diet soda have a three-time risk of developing a stroke. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and author of Brain Maker, artificial sweeteners diminishes the balance between good and bad bacteria, hence it is important to avoid artificial sweeteners to boost good gut bacteria.

Dr. Perlmutter also says that people consuming sugarless beverages are at the increased risk of developing diabetes. However, artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, Stevia, Monk Fruit and Erithrotol are considered to be healthier choices when it comes to gut health, according to J.J. Virgin, author of ‘The Sugar Impact Diet’ and a nutritionist. Yet, she cautions that even healthiest artificial sweeteners can result in weight gain.

According to the San Antonio Heart Study, people who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week are twice to become obese or overweight compared to people who don’t consume diet drinks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five artificial sweeteners including aspartame, saccharin, neotame, acesulfame and sucralose. These artificial sweeteners are considered safe, but careful consumption is still suggested.

Bell Flavors and Fragrances introduces Sweetech technology

In response to the new nutrition facts label for packaged foods by the U.S. FDA, Bell has introduced Sweetech, a smart flavor enhancer for food and beverages industry. Sweetech includes a range of flavors that provides full, rounded sweetness profile same as sucrose. Sensory testing has proved that Sweetech flavors can reduce the sugar by 20-50% in food and beverages, without changing the taste.

Scientists at Nestle S.A. have discovered how to structure sugar crystals, offering nearly identical sweetness while using much less sugar. This finding is said to reduce 40% sugar in Nestle’s chocolate products.

Major companies are also working to introduce sugar reduction technologies. Some of them are masking technologies, refined sweeteners and sensory modulators. However, new stevia products also give developers more choices to create reduced sugar and better tasting beverages. Steviva Ingredients is also planning to introduce two new sweetening systems that include a proprietary hydrocolloid blend, creating viscosity similar to sugar.

Similarly, Lampados International launched a next-generation sweetener known as Liteez. This new sweetener is shaped like meringue that can melt in a hot drink, providing sweetness similar to sugar. Two Liteez consist around 2 calories, compared to 20 calories in one teaspoon of sugar. Liteez is made using vegetable protein and prebiotic fibers.

There has also been a rise in trend of blending two or more artificial sweeteners to enhance the taste and quality of final product. However, various research and studies suggest that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantity. Hence, FDA has also established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for each approved artificial sweetener.