Most people who want to reduce their calorie intake from sugar are switching to artificial sweeteners. As the name (artificial) implies, they are not natural at all.
The questions arise… Are artificial sweeteners bad for you? What are the side effects of artificial sweeteners?
What are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are a type of sugar substitutes. They are many times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) and yet, contain no or low calories.
They are commonly used in “sugar-free”, “low sugar” and diet foods and beverages. These include diet sodas, yogurts, chewing gum, jams, baked goods, cereals and candies.
Interestingly, aspartame, sucralose and saccharin were discovered by accident by chemists.
Types of artificial sweeteners
Some of the popular artificial sweeteners are:
Aspartame: Equal, Nutrasweet
Saccharin: Sweet ‘n Low, Sugar Twin
Acesulfame potassium or acesulfame-K: Sweet One, Swiss Sweet and Sunett.
What are artificial sweeteners made of?
Aspartame: aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine
Sucralose: synthethically made from sugar via chlorination process (also known as chlorinated sweetener)
Saccharin: toulene (derived from petroleum)
Acesulfame potassium or acesulfame-K: acetoacetic acid
Side effects of artificial sweeteners
Aspartame: headaches, seizures, nausea, depression, panic attacks, tiredness, heart palpitations, insomnia, mood and behavioural changes, blurred vision
Sucralose: migraines, allergies, heart palpitations, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, joint pains, itchy eyes
Saccharin: headaches, diarrhea, muscle dysfunction, irritability, skin irritations, breathing difficulties
Acesulfame potassium or acesulfame-K: headaches, visual problems, nausea, depression
(these side effects are caused by methylene chloride, a carcinogenic compound in acefulfame-K)
See Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners for severe side effects that resemble symptoms of diseases.
Artificial sweeteners and weight gain
Many people have been led to believe that artificial sweeteners can help them to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
See this post on –> Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain