As people switch on to the negative effects of too much sugar, they turn to artificial sweeteners to fill their sweet craving. Food manufacturers seek to substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners, and as consumers, we can see the rise in this trend simply by walking through the supermarket aisles.
Artificial sweeteners can be found in almost all types of foods as well as drinks. These foods and beverages are labeled as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diet’. These include yoghurt, baked goods, ice-cream, chewing gum, drinks. In addition, other sugar substitutes such as agave nectar and honey (which have a very high concentration of fructose) are being marketed as a healthier version to regular sugar.
The amount of artificial sweetener that is considered safe for daily consumption is called the ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake). This is the maximum level of consumption that is considered safe to consume everyday throughout the person’s lifetime.
The safety margin is wide, and even though most consumers stay within this limit, those who choose to use artificial sweeteners increase their variety of foods from drinks to yoghurt to baked goods. It is an absolute case of supply and demand, the more consumers demand it, the extra step food manufacturers will take to in order to fulfill this demand.
Harvard Health Publications (Harvard Health School) says that 'in the Multi ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.' Aren’t these diseases that artificial sweeteners may help prevent in the first place?
It is possible that these artificial sweeteners are so sweet that they change the way in which we taste food. Over stimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes. This means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and the even less sweet foods, such as vegetables, completely unpalatable.
It is important to remember that artificial sweeteners be used in moderation and only as part of a well-balanced diet based on whole foods. Both variety and moderation of any foods helps to reduce the possible risks associated with any foods.
In order to further understand the implications of artificial sweeteners as well as understanding the ADI, a visit to a nutritionist of dietitian may be helpful.
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Harris Farm Market
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