Most of the artificial sweeteners on the market have been associated with health problems.
What has the opposite of junk food—nutrition but no calories?
So this is where the more artificial sweeteners come in. Harmful, harmless, or helpful? 6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one,2,2-dioxide, also known as acesulfame K, sold as Sweet One. Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester, also known as aspartame or nutrasweet. Cyclohexanesulfamic acid, known as cyclamate, sold as Sugar Twin. (2R,3S)-butane-1,2,3,4-tetraol, or erythritol, sold as Z-Sweet. Benzoic sulfinide—saccharin— discovered by accident while experimenting with coal tar derivatives and sold as Sweet and Low. Steviol glycosides, extracted from the stevia plant and now sold as truvia by the coca cola company, and purevia by the pepsicola company. Chlorinated hydrocarbon sucralose, discovered by accident at Queen’s College in London while trying to formulate a new pesticide, sold as splenda. And finally hexahydroxyhexane, or sorbitol. Whew!
Now last year we learned aspartame may be harmful— in fact recently also linked to hypertension—but what about these others? I’ll give you two hints. First, none of them are helpful. Why? Because none of them have any nutrition—no calories, but no nutrition. And your second hint is that not all of them are harmful. Based on the best available science at least one or more is harmless.
So what do you think? Acesulfame—Harmful or harmless?
Harmful—linked to DNA damage last year.
What about Sugar Twin? Harmful or harmless?
You may not remember Sugar Twin, because the evil twin was banned 39 years ago. Still legal in Canada though!
What about Z-sweet? Harmful or harmless?
Harmless. Found naturally in pears, melons, and grapes, absorbed in the intestine so it doesn’t have a laxative effect, and it’s excreted virtually unchanged in the urine.
What about Saccharin? Causes bladder cancer in male rats, but not female rats. What about people? Harmful or harmless?
Saccharin may cause bladder cancer in people too.
What about Stevia? Huge amount of new research on stevia, but… the jury’s still out. Check back next year.
There is a verdict on sucralose, though. What do you think? Harmful or harmless? Harmful, based primarily on the role it may play as a migraine trigger.
And finally, the sugar alcohols sorbitol and xylitol. Harmful or harmless?
Unlike erythritol, these other sugar alcohols are not absorbed and so they draw fluid into your colon and can have a laxative effect.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: The Best Foods: Test Your Nutrition Knowledge, Hibiscus tea: flower power, Soymilk: shake it up!, Vitamin B12: how much, how often?, Aspartame: Fibromyalgia & Preterm Birth, and Is There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener?
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