Many foods, beverages and diet products today use artificial sweeteners. This sugar substitute is known to have benefits considered supportive person-person who runsi diet reducing weight. But don’t forget, this artificial sweetener also has a bad impact on health if used excessively.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. These sweeteners can come from natural ingredients, such as herbal plants and processed ordinary sugar (refined sugar). Artificial sweeteners are also known as strong sweeteners because they are much sweeter than regular sugar.
These sugar substitutes are additives that mimic the effects of sugar with a lower calorie count. The food and beverage industry is increasingly replacing sugar or corn syrup with artificial sweeteners in its range of products. This is because the profit from selling products with artificial sweeteners is very high.
Some artificial sweeteners are often used in food and beverage products:
- aspartame. It is used as a sweetener in chewing gum, breakfast cereals, gelatin and carbonated drinks. The sweetness is up to 220 times sweeter than regular sugar. The acceptable daily intake is 50 mg/kg body weight. The content of aspartame consists of amino acids, aspartic acid, phenylalania, and a small amount of ethanol.
- Saccharin. The resulting sweetness reaches 200-700 times higher than ordinary sugar. The use of saccharin in one serving for processed foods should not exceed 30 mg while for drinks it is also not more than 4 mg / 10 ml of fluid.
- Sucralose, produced from sucrose and has a sweet taste 600 times compared to sugar. This material is commonly used in baked or fried food products. The ideal daily consumption of sucralose is 5 mg/kg body weight.
- Acelsufam potassium, this material is very stable at high temperatures and easily soluble so it is suitable for use in many food products. The recommended daily consumption limit is 15 mg/kg body weight.
- Neotam. The neotam content blends together and forms a unique sweet taste. This artificial sweetener is widely used in low-calorie foods and as a flavor enhancer in other foods. Chemically, the content is almost the same as aspartame, but tastes 40 times sweeter than aspartame. Compared to refined sugar, neotam’s sweetness level is up to 8,000 times higher. Neotam can be taken up to 18mg/kg body weight in a day.
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During this time, artificial sweeteners continue to be bombarded by criticism because of the allegation that the addition of artificial sweeteners can cause various health problems. Saccharin is thought to contain carcinogens that cause cancer, although this has not been proven with certainty. Saccharin is declared a weak carcinogen that is safe for humans. Another possible danger of saccharin is an allergic reaction to the content in it, namely sulfonamides. Sulfonamides can also be found in some types of antibiotics and in some people who take them can cause allergies with symptoms such as skin rashes, dizziness, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
Meanwhile, the artificial sweetener aspartame is the most controversial sugar substitute. When the temperature of aspartame is very high, the wood alcohol in aspartame turns into formaldehyde which is harmful to the body. Aspartame will also be digested in the stomach so that later it will be excreted in a form that is not the same as the initial structure. This is the reason why aspartame cannot be consumed by someone who has metabolic disorders because it is feared that it will not be digested properly.
Sucralose, neotam, and acelsufame potassium are also being investigated by many researchers. So far, research has not yielded certainty so that natural sweeteners are still declared safe for human consumption, even for pregnant women.
Artificial sweeteners are an attractive alternative to sugar because they do not add calories to food. It becomes a good choice especially for weight control and diabetics. But we must know that there is still debate about its dangers. Therefore, we need to follow the rules of daily intake for this artificial sweetener so that our health is maintained. If you suspect you are experiencing symptoms from the use of artificial sweeteners, stopping adding these substances to your diet is the best way to be sure.