Review of Artificial Sweeteners and Fat Substitutes

 

INTENSE SWEETENERS - Have little or no nutritive value yet can fit into a healthful eating program for just about anyone.

Aspartame

Aspartame is 180-200 times sweeter than table sugar. It is commonly marketed as NutraSweet, and Equal. Aspartame is not sugar, it is a combination of amino acids. One of these amino acids is phenylalanine. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) should be careful not to consume aspartame because the disorder prevents them from metabolizing phenylalanine properly.

Saccharin

Saccharin was first discovered in 1879, so it has been around for a long time. It has been used for nearly 100 years as a sweetener. At one time the FDA proposed a ban on saccharin because of the potential for causing cancer in laboratory rats. The proposal was withdrawn when it was decided that it would be nearly impossible for a human to consume the amounts of saccharin given to the rats. Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Acesulfame K

Marketed under the brand name Sunette and added to table-top sweeteners such as Sweet One and Swiss Sweet. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Acesulfame K is a white, odorless, crystalline sweetener that is often used with other intense sweeteners.

 

FAT REPLACERS - Fat modified foods offer the option of great taste, texture, and appearance of traditional high fat foods.

Carbohydrate and Protein Based Fat Replacers

Many normally high fat food products contain carbohydrate and protein based fat replacers. For example, fat-free salad dressings contain a carbohydrate based fat replacer, and low-fat cheese contains a protein based fat replacer.

Fat Based Fat Replacers

These are made from chemically altered fats that provide little or no calories because the body is unable to digest and absord the fatty acids. Olestra is used as a calorie-free fat replacer. The brand name is OLEAN. Because Olestra is not absorbed some fat soluable vitamins are carried through the digestive tract without being absorbed also. Consuming foods with Olestra has been linked to digestive discomfort in some people.