The Sweeteners Used.This is a three part series on the Safety of the Diet Drinks we consume. We will be looking at the types of Sweeteners used in them, the FDA role in safety standard and finally our healthier choice.
With the rise in obesity, diabetes type 2 and cancer, can the diet drinks be a factor? Looking at the ingredients used to make them less in calories, mainly the Sweeteners, can give us a better mind to make the right choice. Today we will look at the types of sweeteners used by manufacturers.
Most diet drinks are sweetener with artificial sweetener. Diabetics often think of Diet drink as a health choice, Is it? People on diets often think of diet sodas like zero calories, are they in the long run? Let's take a look at the sweeteners used in the drinks.
The first one to come on board was Saccharin. Even though it was developed in the 1800, it did not become widely use until the 60's and 70's. Now saccharin is a chemical that was widely used in soft drinks. Introduced by the names Sweet 10, Sugar Twin, and Sweet-N-Low. It first came out in a little pill form, you just dropped 2 or3 in your drink. Then in Liquid form, one to two squirts should do it. Now sold in the granular form in little pink packages. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Because the body does not process saccharin, it runs through the digestive system and out. Noted as a free calorie food. The down side is it has been known to trigger insulin release.
Then in the 80's came Aspartame. used in Equal and Nutrasweet. These are about 200 times sweeter than sugar. They break down in the body into two chemicals properties. Phenylalanine and Aspartic acid. Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in the breast milk of mammals and is a known to have antidepressant and analgesic effects. Aspartic acid is also an amino acid found in wildlife meat and some vegetables such as avocados, oat flakes and spouting seeds. It can also be found in young sugarcane , molasses as well as sugar beets.
Both chemicals can be processed in the body easily.
Saccharine and Aspartame are widely used together as a sweetener. Mostly due to the way they work together. Saccharine does not break down, therefore it remains sweet. Aspartame has a shorter shelf life, therefore when it breaks down and saccharine holds the sweetest. Ever wonder why older sodas taste different, or that open bottle changes it taste after a day? This is why.
Now Sweet one and Sunett are sweetener products containing Acesulfame potassium(k). approved by USFDA in the 80's it is about 180 time sweeter than sugar. Although it does have an bitter aftertaste so it is usually mixed with other sweeteners. You will see it on the label as Acesufame K or Ace K. Discover in a German laboratory in the 60's be accident, it has become one of the safest sweetener being used. Ascesulfame is use in over 6,000 food products, ranging from cereal to drinks. It is also used in Pharmaceutical products. Produce from a potassium salt derivative. the chemical itself tends to be mixed with other sweeteners. Due to its ability to be heated and not break down, it has a longer shelf life.
Sucralose came out in the late 90's under the name Splenda. About 600 times sweeter than sugar and having a more stable life, as far as breakdown at high heat. This product has been a newer choice in diet drink makers. Still process be using chemicals, it has been noted that it is derived from sugar.There has not been enough studies on this product yet. Some studies link it to a potential causing more Migraines and some increase in blood sugar for Diabetics. One thing to remember, this is a chemically manufactured substance. In the Laboratories they do change the molecular structure of the sugar compound to achieved a lower sugar calorie product. Therefore there will be some side effects in certain people.
FDA has approved Stevia is a sweeter to be use safely in late 2008. Stevia is a plant that has been used for centuries in other countries as a natural sweetener and medicine. Being 300 times sweeter than sugar it is a good natural choice. it seem to be able to stabilize the blood sugar, curve ones sweet tooth and help lower blood pressure. there are some side effects but nothing that has been noted as life threatening at the present time. I have read some info on Cancer probabilities and problem with Male reproductive organs. However of all the info out there, there is nothing on this claims. A few things to keep in mind are; if you are on meds for blood pressure or a heart condition, it would probably not be a good idea to use Stevia. Due to the side effects known and stated above.
The newest one is Neotame. It is 6,000 to 13,000 sweeter than sugar, that's right in the thousands. This is is on the rise here in the USA. the USFDA has approved it as safe. Nutrasweet company is the maker. It is similar to aspartame, containing the same products used in it. Processed to be more stable in heating , it can be mix with other sweeteners and will have a longer self life. You will start to see it list more and more in products.
some information resources: Elmhurst college, Neotame.com , Wekipedia,Herbs Love to know