Artificial Sweeteners

There are many artificial or low-calories sweeteners in the market. A study confirmed that people who consumed them in beverages and foods and reduced their sugar intake weighed less over time than those who ate similar types and amounts of drinks and food containing sugar. However, consuming some sugar is not a significant contributor to weight gain as long as the total caloric intake is under control.

There is some public concern about chemicals used to produce these sweeteners. However, some of them are natural low-calories that may be more acceptable to many people.

  • Saccharin (Sugar Twin, Sweet n’Low, Sucaryl, and Featherweight). Saccharin has been used for years but is not used as commonly now. Some studies found that large amounts of saccharin cause bladder cancer in rats. Although the rats were fed huge amounts that do not apply to human diets, some evidence suggests that people who have six or more servings of saccharin per day may have an increased risk.
  • Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet, Equal, NutraTase). Aspartame has come under scrutiny because of rare reports of neurologic disorders, including headaches or dizziness, associated with its use. People with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic condition, should not use it. Studies have not reported any serious health dangers, but some people may be sensitive to it.
  • Sucralose (Splenda). Sucralose has no better aftertaste and works well in baking. It is made from real sugar by replacing hydroxyl atoms with chlorine atoms. Some people are concerned because chlorinated molecules used in major industrial chemicals have been associated with cancer and birth defects. Over 100 studies have been conducted on sucralose over a 20-year period with no reports of such risks.
  • Acesulfame-potassium (Sweet One, SwissSweet, Sunette). It has been used in the US since 1988 with no reported adverse effects.
  • Neotame (Neotame). Neotame is a synthetic variation of aspartame but was developed to avoid its side effects. The association with aspartame has raised some concerns. Studies to date have reported no effects that would cause alarm and it appears to be safe for general consumption.
  • D-tagatose (Tagatose). This reduced calorie sweetener is novel low-calorie derived from lactose, which is found in dairy products and other foods. It may be specifically beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes and have additional benefits that aid the intestinal tract.
  • Alitame (Aclame) is formed from amino acids. It has the potential to be used in all products that contain sugar, including baked goods.
  • Stevioside (Stevia). This is a natural sweetener derived from a South American plant. It is available in health food stores. People with diabetes should avoid alcohol-based forms. It has not been rigorously tested.
  • Others being investigated include, glycyrrhizin (derived from licorice), and dihycrochalcones (derived from citrus fruits).

Sweeteners & Diabetes


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