Nutritive and Non-Nutritive
Health & Weight Loss Effects of Using Sweeteners Instead of Sugar
Artificial Sweeteners, Health and Weight Control
Artificial sweeteners are sugar-substitutes. There are 2 kinds of sweeteners: nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners provide some calories, non-nutritive sweeteners typically provide zero calories.
Artificial Sweeteners - the Weight Loss Theory
Sugar contains about 16 calories per teaspoon (4 calories per gram). The average American diet contains about 24 teaspoons of sugar per day, or about 384 calories worth.
Theoretically, by substituting sweeteners for sugar, we save up to 384 calories per day, or 140,000 calories per year - the equivalent of 40 pounds of body weight. (3500 calories = 1 pound of body weight).
Artificial Sweeteners - Weight Loss Reality
Artificial Sweeteners - US Dietary Guidelines
The US Food Guide Pyramid encourages consumers to have the smallest proportion of their energy derived from fats, oils, and sugars. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge consumers to choose a diet moderate in these sources of energy because excessive intake may provide the body with unnecessary energy and few nutrients. However, persons can include sugars in their diets and still consume a healthful diet.
Artificial Sweeteners - American Dietetic Association Position
It is the position of The American Dietetic Association that consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners when consumed in moderation and within the context of a diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (www.eatright.org)
Artificial Sweeteners - Different Types
As stated above, the terms "nutritive" and "nonnutritive" denote a difference in the amount of energy provided by sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners include sugar sweeteners (eg, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, glucose, dextrose, corn sweeteners, honey, lactose, maltose, various syrups, invert sugars, concentrated fruit juice) and reduced-energy polyols or sugar alcohols (eg, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates).The claim that nutritive sweeteners have caused an increase in chronic disease (eg, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental caries, behavioral disorders) is not substantiated
Non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are intensely sweet - between 200-700 times sweeter than sugar. They add sweetness to foods for people (like diabetics) who need to limit their intake of sugar. They contain little or no calories or glycemic response (impact on blood sugar levels). The United States leads the world in consumption of high-intensity sweeteners, consuming approximately 50% of the world demand. Nonnutritive sweeteners may assist in weight management, control of blood glucose, and prevention of dental caries. But most non-nutritive sweeteners come with health warnings, not least because of the lack of clinical tests on their long-term use.
FDA has approved 4 nonnutritive sweeteners and regulates them as food additives: saccharin (on an interim basis pending additional study), aspartame, acesulfame potassium (or acesulfame-K), and sucralose.
Artificial Sweeteners - Are They Safe?
Health concerns have focused on the non-nutritive sweeteners, especially Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low) and Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal). Truth is, no one knows for certain whether calorie-free sugar replacements are safe. On the other hand, the health risks of obesity and diabetes are well documented. Furthermore, non-nutritive sweeteners are so embedded in the food industry, that it is not easy to ban them without clear evidence of health problems.
Artificial Sweeteners - Do They Lead to Weight Loss?
Theoretically, a calorie-saving is a calorie-saving. So by substituting a zero-calorie sweetener for sugar, you will achieve a calorie saving which should help you to lose weight. However, as stated above, practical tests appear to show that dieters using sugar-replacements do not achieve significantly greater weight loss than dieters who use small amounts of sugar. The reasons for this are not clear.
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