With artificial sweeteners moderation is the key

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Question: There seems to be so much conflicting information on artificial sweeteners, I don’t know whether it’s safe to use them or not. What is the UT Extension position on this?
Answer: There is a lot of differing opinions and a lot of unanswered questions about artificial sweeteners. So, here’s the bottom line according to Janey Burney, UT Specialist in Nutrition and Food Safety.
• Beverages with artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative to water.
• Artificial sweeteners are not helpful in weight loss if total calories are not reduced.
• While these high-intensity sweeteners are considered safe for their intended uses, certain individuals may have a particular sensitivity or adverse reaction to any food substance.
• Artificial sweeteners provide alternatives for diet variety with fewer feelings of deprivation.
• University of Tennessee Extension does not endorse or discourage the use of artificial sweeteners.
There are four commonly used artificial sweeteners in the U.S.: Aspartame (examples: Nutrisweet or Equal), Stevia (example: Truvia), Saccharin (example: Sweet ‘n Low), and Sucralose (example: Splenda). These low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed food ingredients in the world today and have passed rigorous safety assessments. Despite numerous reports and claims, sound clinical studies do not show a relationship between artificial sweeteners and obesity, cancer or other diseases.
Put the risk in perspective: To exceed the established safety limit, an adult, would have to drink 17 (12 ounce) cans of diet soda each day.
With the alarming obesity rates in America, artificial sweeteners at least give us an alternative that could prevent us from feeling deprived of sweets as we try to diet and lower our calorie intake.
As with everything, moderation is the key.
Vickie Clark is the Director of the Carter County UT Extension Office and also serves as the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. If you have questions or need any information related to Family and Consumer Science contact her at the UT Extension Carter County, 824 East Elk Ave., Elizabethton, call 542-1818 or email at vclark@utk.edu.

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