Use of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners Need Further Research Regarding Health Aspects
Researchers from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have found that the use of artificial sweeteners could result in beneficial effects.
"Smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat," said lead author Christopher Gardner of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
That decrease "could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes," Gardner said in a statement.
However, according to researchers, the beneficial effects of artificial sweeteners could be nullified by eating other high-calorie foods such as eating an extra piece of cake after drinking diet soda.
Gardner said, “if you choose a beverage sweetened with non-nutritive sweetener, replacing the 150 calories of a sugar sweetened drink, and then indulge in a 300 calorie cookie later in the day, you’re going to end up eating more calories than you subtracted.”
Researchers have studied non-nutritive sweeteners aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), acesulfame-K (Sweet One), saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), sucralose (Splenda), Neotame, and stevia (Truvia, PureVia, Sweet Leaf). These are safe type of sweeteners according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Several studies showed some unwanted results such as obesity due to utilization of such sweeteners, which has been attributed to the already overweight characteristic of those people. On the other hand, some people get benefit from the use of such sweeteners as said by co-author Diane Reader of the International Diabetes Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
"For example, soft drinks sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners do not increase blood glucose levels, and thus can provide a sweet option for those with diabetes," Reader said in a statement.
But she warned that "just because a food product includes a non-nutritive sweetener" does not show that it is healthy and the use of non-nutritive sweeteners have to be considered for the overall diet.
However, the use of non-nutritive sweeteners helps in controlling carbohydrate resulting in control of weight and diabetes.
"Strategies for reducing calories and added sugars also involves choosing foods which have no added sugars or non-nutritive sweeteners – such as vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, and non- or low-fat dairy," Gardner said.
Researchers have concluded in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and Diabetes Care that further research must have to be done as the literature is showing limited and often contradictory evidences.