Artificial Sweeteners: Sugar-free, But At What Cost?
By offering the taste of sweetness without any calories, artificial sweeteners seem like they could be one answer to effective weight loss. The average 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda delivers about 150 calories, almost all of them from sugar. The same amount of diet soda—zero calories. The choice seems like a no-brainer. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious nod to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. (You can read the full statement here.) “While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat. Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Christopher Gardner, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University in California, in a press release accompanying the scientific statement. As with everything, there’s more to the artificial sweetener story than their effect on weight. To learn more about them, I spoke with Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a keen interest in products designed to help people lose weight at keep it off. And what he has learned about artificial sweeteners worries him. All artificial sweeteners are not created equal The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved one natural low-calorie sweetener, stevia. How the human body and brain respond to these sweeteners is very complex. One concern is that Continue reading >>
Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels. When used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals. Artificial sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners offer the sweet taste of sugar, but have no carbohydrates or calories. Artificial sweeteners do not raise blood sugar levels. So when used instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners can help you keep within your carbohydrate goals when planning meals. And because artificial sweeteners have no calories, choosing foods made with artificial sweeteners may lower your calorie intake. Look for manufactured foods and sweeteners for the table that contain one of these 5 sugar substitutes approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration: Saccharin (Brand Name: Sweet and Low, Sugar Twin) Aspartame loses sweetness when cooked. Sucralose, acesulfame-K and saccharin can be used for baking. Look for special baking recipes for artificial sweeteners, as direct substitution for sugar might not give you the result you want. Or, try a combination of artificial sweetener and sugar in recipes to get your desired result while lowering the overall carbohydrate amount. Keep in mind that some artificial sweeteners can be sweeter than equal amounts of natural sugar. A little bit goes a long way. This naturally sweet herb has been used in other countries for centuries. It is not FDA approved for use as a sweetener, but it can be purchased as a dietary supplement in many health food stores. Stevia comes in powder, liquid and tablet form. It doesnt provide calories or impact blood glucose. The FDA has completed careful testing of all the artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to be safe to eat. Despite rumors of cancer causing effects of artificial sw Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners: Any Effect On Blood Sugar?
Can I use artificial sweeteners if I have diabetes? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. You can use most sugar substitutes if you have diabetes, including: Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Acesulfame potassium (Sunett) Sucralose (Splenda) Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia) Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar, so it takes a smaller amount to sweeten foods. This is why foods made with artificial sweeteners may have fewer calories than those made with sugar. Sugar substitutes don't affect your blood sugar level. In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods" — foods containing less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrates — because they don't count as calories or carbohydrates on a diabetes exchange. Remember, however, other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar level. More research is needed, but studies are increasingly finding that the benefits of substituting sugar-sweetened food and beverages with those that have been sweetened artificially may not be as clear as once thought, particularly when consumed in large amounts. One reason may be a "rebound" effect, where some people end up consuming more of an unhealthy type of food because of the misperception that because it's sugar-free it's healthy. Also, be cautious with sugar alcohols — including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. Sugar alcohols can increase your blood sugar level. And for some people, sugar alcohols may cause diarrhea. Continue reading >>
Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For Diabetes?
Artificial sweeteners can now be found in thousands of products from ‘diet’ sodas, to ‘diet’ foods, to no sugar, low sugar, desserts, yogurts, chewing gum, and even some low fat products. One of the proposed benefits of using artificial sweeteners is they help to lower your calorie intake. I mean, one teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories, while the equivalent in artificial sweetener is zero. And we still get to enjoy the sweet taste that us human beings seem to LOVE so much right?! But are artificial sweeteners bad for diabetes? Great question. The American Diabetes Association recommends the use of artificial sweeteners, so does Diabetes Australia and UK, and dietitians commonly promote their use as well. This was on the American Diabetes Association page about artificial sweeteners. But do they REALLY curb cravings? And how exactly do they affect us or diabetes? Let’s turn to the science and see what it has to say. What are artificial sweeteners? Artificial sweeteners can also be called high-intensity sweeteners, low-calorie sweeteners, and non-caloric sweeteners. The main artificial sweeteners available are: Saccharin – one of the oldest artificial sweeteners discovered in 1879. In the 1970s and 80s there were some studies that showed saccharin caused cancer in rats. As a result there was a temporary warning put on labels but this was later removed as further studies suggested this cancer was not applicable to humans. There is still limited research available so this could be questionable. Brand names: Sweet’N Low, Sugar Twin, Necta Sweet. Aspartame – discovered in 1965, approved in 1981. Interestingly, all food industry funded studies show that aspartame is safe. But most independent studies show it has adverse health effects such as headaches, Alzheimer Continue reading >>
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For People With Diabetes?
As diabetes educators, we are frequently asked if sugar substitutes are safe and which ones are best. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Over time, there have been many sugar substitutes, and we always tell people that the one you use is a personal choice. They are safe for people with diabetes, and they can be used to reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Sugar substitutes also can help curb those cravings you have for something sweet. Youll find artificial sweeteners in diet drinks , baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt and chewing gum. You can also find them as stand-alone sweeteners to add to coffee, tea , cereal and fruit. Some are also available for cooking and baking. Its important to remember that only a small amount is needed since the sweetening power of these substitutes is (at least) 100 times stronger than regular sugar. There are currently six artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the FDAor placed on the agencys Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Numerous scientific studies have been performed on each of them to confirm they are safe for consumption. The FDA has established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each of the products. This represents the amount of a food ingredient that can be used safely on a daily basis over a lifetime without risk.Here is a current list of sweeteners that have been approved by the FDA. 1. Acesulfame-potassium, also known as Ace-K This is generally blended with another low-calorie sweetener. Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One It is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used as Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners Raise Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests
Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research. The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes. The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood. Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo. Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors. They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal. Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners coul Continue reading >>
The Best Sugar Substitutes For People With Diabetes
With a low to no calorie sugar count, artificial sweeteners may seem like a treat for people with diabetes. But recent research suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually be counterintuitive. Especially if you’re looking to manage or prevent diabetes. In fact, the increased consumption of these sugar substitutes may correlate to the increase of obesity and diabetes cases. The good news is that there are sugar alternatives you can choose from. You’ll still want to count your intake for glucose management, but these options are far better than the marketed “sugar-free” products. Stevia Stevia is a FDA approved low-calorie sweetener that has anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar, stevia can suppress your plasma glucose levels and significantly increase glucose tolerance. It’s also technically not an artificial sweetener. That’s because it’s made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Stevia also has the ability to: increase insulin effect on cell membranes increase insulin production stabilize blood sugar levels counter mechanics of type 2 diabetes and its complications You can find stevia under brand names like: PureVia Sun Crystals Sweet Leaf Truvia While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain other ingredients. For example, Truvia goes through 40 processing steps before it’s ready to be sold, and contains the sugar alcohol erythritol. Future research may shed more light on the health impacts of consuming these processed stevia sweeteners. The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods. What’s the difference between Truvia and stevia? » Tagatose Tagatose is another naturally occurring sugar that researchers are s Continue reading >>
The Bad Effects Of Artificial Sweeteners On Diabetics
Artificially sweetened treats can lead to unhealthy eating habits for diabetics.Photo Credit: MrButterworth/iStock/Getty Images The Bad Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Diabetics A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Diabetics need to monitor their food consumption carefully to ensure that sugary snacks and simple carbohydrates do not create dangerous swings in their blood glucose levels. Some types of artificial sweeteners can allow diabetics to enjoy an occasional sweet treat without concern for its impact on blood glucose levels, but other artificial sweeteners create unpredictable glucose results. Over-reliance on artificial sweeteners can have many bad health effects, including leading to unhealthy eating patterns. Sugar alcohols are reduced-calorie sweeteners that contain about half the calories of table sugar. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized food manufacturers to label foods containing sugar alcohols as sugar-free or no-sugar-added. This means people with diabetes cannot rely on the sugar-free label to ensure that the food product will not contain sugar. Read the food ingredients label carefully to ascertain if it contains erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, xylitol or other sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols will affect blood glucose, but the extent of the impact varies from product to product, according to the National Diabetes Association. Snacks containing sugar alcohols also frequently contain refined flour carbohydrates an Continue reading >>
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe For People With Borderline Diabetes?
Q Are artificial sweeteners bad for me if I have blood sugar problems? I am borderline diabetic and have started using them to cut back on sugar. A If you’re borderline diabetic—aka, you have prediabetes—you should cut back not just on sugar and starches but also on artificial sweeteners. Use them rarely—no more than once a month. Why? Since the 1950s, when tiny tablets of saccharin became available to shake into your morning coffee, artificial sweeteners have promised dulce…but for people with blood sugar concerns they are more likely diablo. Recent evidence: An 18-year study of 61,440 women showed that those who “always or almost always” used artificial sweeteners of any kind had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nor was the link based on the likelihood that people who are overweight may be using artificial sweeteners. It was independent of body weight. New research is uncovering just how artificial sweeteners may contribute to diabetes—or make it worse if you already have it. Example: Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) can alter the activity and composition of the microbes in your intestine, creating glucose intolerance. It may also increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase systemic oxidative stress—both contributors to metabolic diseases including diabetes. Aspartame may also interfere with the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in nerves, which can cause insulin deficiency or resistance. It’s not the only artificial sweetener that’s troubling—Sucralose (Splenda), although considered safe for most people, has been reported to raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The truth is, artificial sweeteners are bad for everybody, not just for people with prediabetes or diabetes. Healthy people who drink more d Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners And Diabetes
Is it possible to eat sweets when you have diabetes? The answer is "yes." But when you’re trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, it can be hard to know what to reach for at the grocery store (sugar-free this or low-calorie that). So, use this primer to help you choose wisely. The Sweet Facts When you’re comparing sweeteners, keep these things in mind: Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates. These include brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioners’ sugar, fructose, honey, and molasses. They have calories and raise your blood glucose levels (the level of sugar in your blood). Reduced-calorie sweeteners are sugar alcohols. You might know these by names like isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. You'll often find them in sugar-free candy and gum. They have about half the calories of sugars and can raise your blood sugar levels, although not as much as other carbohydrates. Artificial sweeteners are considered "free foods." They were designed in a lab, have no calories, and do not raise your blood sugar levels. Types of Artificial Sweeteners Artificial low-calorie sweeteners include: Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sugar Twin). You can use it in both hot and cold foods. Avoid this sweetener if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal). You can use it in both cold and warm foods. It may lose some sweetness at high temperatures. People who have a condition called phenylketonuria should avoid this sweetener. Acesulfame potassium or ace-K (Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sunett). You can use it in both cold and hot foods, including in baking and cooking. Sucralose (Splenda). You can use it in hot and cold foods, including in baking and cooking. Processed foods often contain it. Advantame can be used in baked goods, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic bev Continue reading >>
You Asked: Do Sugar Substitutes Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
TIME Health For more, visit TIME Health. By now you’ve heard that sugary foods drive insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. The more of the sweet stuff you swallow—whether it’s table sugar or organic honey—the more insulin your pancreas has to produce and release into your bloodstream in order to control your blood’s glucose levels. At some point, an overworked pancreas can become incapable of producing enough insulin to manage sugar loads in the blood, resulting in type-2 diabetes But what happens if you replace sugar with artificial sweeteners? The American Diabetes Association says on its website that sugar substitutes are safe by FDA standards, and “may help curb your cravings for something sweet.” But other experts are dubious. “The short answer is we don’t know what happens when you replace sugar with artificial sweeteners,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and sugar researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. “We have data nibbling around the edges, but we don’t have enough to make a hard determination for any specific sweetener.” People who consume diet soda on a daily basis are 36% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and 67% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than people who don’t drink diet or regular soda, found a 2009 study. That may seem damning until you consider that overweight or obese people—the groups most at risk for type-2 diabetes—may be more likely to drink diet soda in an attempt to lose weight than their slimmer pals. Newer evidence, though still far from conclusive, is more telling. A 2014 study from Israel found that artificial sweeteners changed the microbiotic makeup of rodents’ guts in ways linked to metabolic disease. For another recent study, researchers at Washington Un Continue reading >>
Sugars, Sugar Substitutes And Sweeteners: Natural And Artificial
If you’re living with diabetes, or even if you’re not, you might think sweet foods are a barrier to your healthy, balanced diet. As a general rule,everyone should be eating less sugar– but sometimes, only something sweet will do. If want to lose weight, or you’re trying to keep your blood glucose levels stable, you may want to know whether artificial sweeteners could help. If you browse around your local supermarket, you’ll see a huge range of sweeteners on offer, so it can be baffling to know which, if any, to go for. So in this section we'll take you through: Sweeteners are ingredients that are added to food to enhance sweetness. They can be grouped in different ways: One way is to loosely group sweeteners as: sugar or sugar substitutes.Another way to group sweeteners is whether the sweetener is: natural or artificial. One of the most useful ways of grouping sweeteners is to look at those that have nutritive value, ie nutritive sweeteners, and those without nutritive value, ie non-nutritive or ‘low-calorie’ sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners There are different types of nutritive sweeteners, but they all contain carbohydrate and provide calories. They are usually referred to as ‘sugars’ or ‘added sugar’, but they can also appear in the ingredient list of food packaging as: glucose fructose sucrose maltose honey and syrup, etc. Polyols One group of nutritive sweeteners is polyols, which are sugar alcohols, and include: erythritol isomalt maltitol mannitol sorbitol xylitol. They can be natural or artificially produced. Polyols contain carbohydrates and calories, but they have fewer calories and less of an effect on blood glucose levels than sucrose (sugar). Polyols and diabetes It’s not exactly clear how the polyols should be ‘counted’ by peopl Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners May Be Worse Than Sugar For Diabetics
Diet foods and drinks are widely promoted to help you lose weight but mounting evidence shows aspartame actually makes you fatter, increases dangerous visceral fat deposits, and adversely affects your blood glucose levels and worsens insulin sensitivity The classic study conducted by the American Cancer Society 25 years ago of 80,000 women, which showed those who consumed diet sodas gained more weight than those that consumed regular sodas, is routinely ignored. Newer studies have also supported this early finding. Recent animal research also shows exposure to aspartame in utero has a detrimental effect on learning and memory. Excitotoxins like aspartate and MSG have also been implicated in worsening fibromyalgia and irritable bowel symptoms If you suspect an artificial sweetener might be to blame for a symptom you're having, a good way to help you weed out the culprit is to do an elimination challenge. Guidelines are included. By Dr. Mercola Diet foods and drinks are promoted to help you lose weight but compelling evidence shows that artificial sweeteners like aspartame cause weight gain rather than weight loss. That's right, aspartame―which was once hailed as a wonder chemical because it tastes like sugar without the calories―actually makes you fatter, and adversely affects your blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Studies Repeatedly Find Aspartame Causes Weight Gain The fact that aspartame is NOT a dieter's best friend has been known by scientists for some time. The problem is this news has not received the necessary traction in the media. For example, a study from 19861, which included nearly 80,000 women, found that those who used artificial sweeteners were significantly more likely than non-users to gain weight over time, regardless of initial weight. Continue reading >>
Artificial Sweeteners Could Increase Risk Of Diabetes In Just Two Weeks
Artificial sweeteners could increase risk of diabetes in just two weeks Millions of people turn to artificial sweeteners instead of sugarCredit:PA Usingartificial sweeteners instead of sugar could increase the risk of diabetes in just two weeks, new research suggests. The study shows that the supplements can change the bodys response to glucose, heightening the risk of the condition which is suffered by almost 4 million Britons. Previous studies have linked high intake of sweeteners to a greater risk of diabetes, The new research, presented at a conference in Lisbon, investigated the mechanisms behind the association. This study, led by the Adelaide Medical School in Australia, involved 27 healthy people who were either given sweeteners - the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink, or an inactive placebo. At the end of two weeks, tests were carried out examining levels of glucose absorption, blood glucose, insulin and gut peptides. The team found that those given supplements such as sucralose - which is commonly marketed as Splenda - saw a heightened response across all fronts. None of these measures were altered in the volunteers who were given a placebo. The study determined that just two weeks of sweeteners was enough to make a difference. Lead author Prof Richard Young said: "This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body's control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes." The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal. Sweeteners are employed by many in the battle of the bulgeCredit:P Continue reading >>
The Relationship Between Diabetes And Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are always a “hot topic” and many people tend to have strong feelings about them, one way or another. It seems like every other month we get a report on the latest study on what artificial sweeteners do or don’t do to us. The data alternates between saying artificial sweeteners are good for us or they are going to kill us – so which is it? It can be hard to know what to believe and what to do, especially if you have diabetes and see artificial sweeteners as a healthy alternative. They seem like a great option for lowering calories and carbohydrates, but are they too good to be true? Let’s look at some of the claims, myths and facts related to artificial sweeteners. We’ll start with the basics. The Background and the Basics Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, were originally created to help people lose weight and manage diabetes. They were thought to be a great alternative. Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener, accidentally discovered by scientists at John’s Hopkins. Eventually there were concerns over the safety of saccharin based on studies done in rodents. Even though the FDA was leaning toward banning it, but they didn’t, and it was partially because of consumer uproar over that possibility. The final ruling was that saccharin was only required to have a warning label about cancer, but could remain on the market. In 2000, the warning label was removed because they could only prove its carcinogenic affect in rodents and not in humans. You will still find saccharin “the pink packet” on the market today. Now, we have a total of 8 sugar substitutes. There are two different kinds, nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive means it adds to the caloric value of food and it contains more than 2% of the amount o Continue reading >>