Artificial sweeteners research help

A century has passed since the introduction of non-nutritive sweeteners, also known as artificial sweeteners into the food supply industries. The public health concerns about consuming too much sugars and calories, such as overweight, obesity, and diabetes, have also supported the use of artificial sweeteners to a large extent. Today, artificial sweeteners are used in food and beverage products that are targeted at almost all the population, including males and females in all age groups, ranging from young children and ending with the elderly. Despite the success of artificial sweeteners in reducing the consumption of sugar calories in food, two decades ago, naturalists started to challenge the safety of these sweeteners, arguing that they are responsible for serious health problems. Consequently, they attempted to reach a ban on these sweeteners. Nevertheless, scientific research and evidence tend to show that these sweeteners are in fact safe and healthy for use in food.

Producers of food products perfer to use artificial sweeteners for a variety of reasons. The first major reasons is that they cost less than the usual sugars (Position Statement, p. 527). This means that producers will be able to reduce their prices and reach larger markets, which in turn means that they will be making more profits. For example, the sugar-free yogurt industry has grown by 10 million customers since 1991. Similarly, the number of men consuming diet carbonated soft drinks and sugar substitutes has grown by five million (American Dietic Association, p.2). Artificial sweeteners are industrially processed and therefore they are cleaner and easier to prepare. Besides, it is much easier to manipulate the flavor of artificial sweeteners than to mainpulate the flavor in natural sugars. This means that customers can get a wider range of flavors which meet their demands with artificial sweeteners. Saccharine which is the most industrially used sweetener enters in the manufacturing of cosmetic products, vitamins and pharmaceuticals (Position Statement, p.523). Acesulfame-k is also used in most of these industries, in addition to the manufacturing of dry beverage mixes, dry dessert mixes, dry dairy analog bases, confections, breath mints, cough drops and lozenges (Position Statement, p.527). Aspartame on the other hand, is used in ready-to-drink tea, yogurt-type products, fruit spreads, frozen dairy, malt beverages and carbonated beverage syrups (Position Statement, p. 527).


Supporter of artificial sweeteners

Another major supporter of artificial sweeteners are dentists. Dentists consider natural sugars as the main enemy of the teeth, since they cause caries and dental cavities (Position Statement, p. 525). The Federal Drugs Association has considered saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame-k as safe non-nuntritive sweeteners which contribute to the protection of teeth. The Federal Drugs Association has further supported further use of artificial sweeteners in foods targeted at children instead of using natural sugars because they do not have the destructive effects of natural sugars on the teeth (Position Statement, p. 525). This is explained by the fact that natural sugars which remain in the mouth, after eating sweets, are fermented in the mouth to produce acids which dig through the surface of the teeth until they create cavities in the enamel, which in turn gives way for the development of caries. On the other hand, when artificial sugars in the mouth are fermented, they do not produce acids, but rather, they are broken down into simpler elements that are harmless to the enamel (Jawdet Dada, TV Interview).

Although industrialists and dentists have very good reasons to support artificial sugars, perhaps medical authorities concerned with nutrition-related diseases and disorders, are the most prominent supporters of artificial sweeteners. The major benefit of artificial sweeteners is that they contain low or even no calories. Saccharine, for example, has been highly precribed in the diet of people suffering from diabetes, because of its low-caloric content (Position Statement, p.523). Acesulfame-K contains no calories at all, and it is therefore used in calorie-free foods, in addition to the diet of people suffering from diabetes. Doctors highly recommend acesulfame-K because it has no effect on serum glucose, cholesterol, total glycerol or free glycerol levels (Position Statement, p. 527). Similarly, aspartame which contains very little sugar is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to be used in diabetic meal plans because of its intensive sweetness but extreme low caloric contents (Position Statement, p. 525).

Despite all these benefits of artificial sweeteners, naturalists have tried to ban their use due to a number of allegations. Aspartame for example, has been accused of causing memory loss (Nelson & Moser, p. 1543). Most artificial sweeteners were also accused of effecting child cognitive behavior (Wolraich et. al., p. 301), and of causing health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (ADA Reports, p. 816). Moreover, certain concerns have been declared about the relation of artificial sweeteners with toxicity, mild gastrointestinal upset, and diarrhoea (Stewart, p. 21). In 1977, the FDA passed a memorandum to the American Congress to ban saccharine because of the allegations that it was resposible for causing bladder cancer in human beings (Position Statement, p. 524).

Artificial sweeteners are safe to use

In the face of all these allegations, only scientific research could prove whether artificial sweeteners were really safe to use or not. Based on extensive research, it was proved that artificial sweeteners were not related to any problems in child cognitive behaviors (Woraich et. al, p. 301). In an experiment on 31 test results on children, only two results showed a possibility of such a relation (Woraich et. al., p. 301). As to the allegation that aspartame is responsible for loss of memory, studies have been made in the past twenty years only to prove that these allegations are not true (Nelson & Moser, p. 1543). In fact, these studies ended up showing that digested aspartame elements known as amino acids are identical to other amino acids entering from normal diets, and even in less amounts (Neslon & Moser, p. 1543). Moreover, the gastrointestinal disturbances and the worries over toxicity have been proved to be unrealistic. The digestive system in the body only needs a little time to get used to artificial sweeteners after which any digestive disturbances such as mild diarhoea disappear (Stewart, p. 21). Finally, the call for banning saccharine for its relation to cancer has finally stopped by the FDA because after two decades of research, it was proved that no ill effects whatsoever are related to saccharine (Position Statement, p. 526). Besides, the tests made on rats resulting in bladder tumors prove to be unreliable because the amounts of saccharine fed to the rats were far too exaggerated and are relatively impossible to be consumed by human beings. Moreover, the ADA also announced that arguments accusing artificial sweeteners of being related to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are all misconceptions (ADA Reports, p. 816).

Artificial sweeteners are therefore not only safe, but also useful. They have proven to be of high value in dietic meals, especially those meals of people with diabetes or obesity. Medical doctors are increasingly recommending these sweeteners to be used by individuals in order to eat what they like without risking an increase in their caloric count (Giese, p. 114). In other words, artificial sweeteners are the best present and future choice in food industries, diet to face disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and even for people who want to have a balanced meal. The safety of artificial sweeteners has been proved by scientific evidence, and they are now highly recommended by medical authorities for use by everybody. More than 95 countries in the world use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame in their industries and diet.

It took two decades of hot arugments and scientific research to refute the accusations against artificial sweeteners. This has not been a loss, because these studies and arguments led to more discoveries on the usefulness and safety of these sweeteners. They even opened new horizons for science and business to make further use of these sweeteners. The most important consequence, however, is that when we or even our children consume foods which contain such artificial sweeteners as saccharine or aspartame, we know for granted that there is no risk on their health.