Artificial sweetners have been around since 1879, when a scientist working at the Johns Hopkins University in the US, noticed that a compound made from coal tar which had accidentally fallen on his hand, tasted very sweet. He realised it could be used as an artificial sweetener.
Today it is known as saccharin. Other compounds are also used as sweeteners. Here’s a list, together with their health effects.
Brand name: Sweet ’N Low
: Drinks, canned goods, candy, diabetic
Health alert: In the US, saccharin is approved as a special dietary sweetener specifically for beverages and tabletop products, as long as specific maximum amounts are not exceeded.
Brand name: Splenda
Found in: Fruit drinks, canned fruit, syrups.
Health alert: Sucralose received FDA approval in 1998, and although one study showed it may negatively impact the immune system, follow-up studies did not find such an effect.
Brand Name: Sweet One
Found in: Beverages, gum, oral hygiene products, frozen desserts, chocolates.
Health alert: First approved by the FDA in 1988, it is 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Brand name: Equal, NutraSweet
Found in: Drinks, chewing gum, yogurt, cough drops, toothpaste.
Health alert: Approved by the FDA in 1981, it is 200 times sweeter than sugar. When ingested, it is broken down in the body, but not metabolised further. It is approved as a general purpose sweetener, but is dangerous for people with a genetic disorder called Phenylketonuria.
Brand names: Stevia, Truvia, Pure Via
drinks, yogurts. Health alert: Refined stevia products were approved by the FDA in 2008. However, toxicologists from UCLA have expressed reservations about Stevia.
This is part two of a two-part series.
From HT Brunch, October 5
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Oct 02, 2014 15:00 IST