A Comparison of Artificial Sweeteners and their Impact on your Blood Sugar Level and Health

A Comparison of Artificial Sweeteners and their Impact on your Blood Sugar Level and Health

If you've made the commitment to start working on reducing the sugar consumption in your regular diet plan, you may be considering using one of the many different artificial sweetener products available on the market.

These typically provide no calories, so they may seem like a great option to avoid weight gain associated with sugar and still enjoy the great tasting sweet foods you love.

But, are they really that healthy - especially for someone working to manage their blood sugar levels?

Let's take a closer peak at some of the main artificial sweeteners on the market and what you should know about them.

Aspartame

The very first sweetener is one that you have likely heard about time and time again, aspartame, frequently known as NutraSweet. Of all the sweeteners to get negative publicity, this is one that easily takes the crown with all the various negative statements coming out about its danger.

Despite all the negative media attention, this sweetener was approved by the FDA in 1981 and is used regularly in a wide variety of food products. It's 200 times sweeter than table sugar, so a little will go a long way.

It does not have any impact on blood glucose levels, so from a blood glucose standpoint, it can help you better control your blood sugar. But one thing to keep in mind is how you are choosing to use this sweetener.

If you're eating foods that are still high in refined flours or other processed ingredients, despite the fact you aren't going to get a blood sugar spike from the aspartame added, you will still get a spike from these other simple carbohydrates.

So you need to be sure that you look at the whole picture of the food you're using the sweetener with.

Keep in mind that some of the reported side effects from consumption of aspartame include headaches, nausea, dizziness, migraines, stomach pain and bloating, all the way to an increased risk of cancer, so you need to be extra careful about deciding to use this sweetener.

Even if it doesn't impact blood glucose, that doesn't mean it's a healthy choice.

Sucralose

Next, a second sweetener you may come across is sucralose. This is more commonly known as 'Splenda', which has the catch phrase, 'tastes like sugar, because it's made from sugar'.

Right there, warning bells should go off. While this sweetener is rated at 600 times sweeter than sugar, it does still have one gram of carbs per packet (or teaspoon), so if you consume enough of it, you will get an impact on your blood glucose levels.

Some people will use such high amounts of it thinking since it's 'calorie free' they can use as much as they want, when this is entirely incorrect thinking.

Even the calories will add up if you consume enough of it.

Saccharin

Saccharin, typically found in 'Sweet 'N Low' ,is a sweetener that is 300-500 times as sweet as sugar and has no impact on blood glucose levels either. The downside to this sweetener however is that it will leave a rather unpleasant metallic-like aftertaste in your mouth, so for some people, this ruins the enjoyment of using it.

It should also be noted that in 1977, one study suggested that rats may have developed cancer in part due to consumption of this sweetener, which left many people questioning its safety.

An FDA attempt to ban the chemical did not follow through however so you will still find this sweetener in many foods today. But, you need to heed warning of this study and keep it in mind, deciding for yourself whether it's one you feel safe putting in your body.

Acesulfame Potassium

This is the third sweetener you may come across, often referred to as ACK. It was first approved by the FDA in 1988 for use in certain types of foods and beverage products and then went on to become approved as a general sweetener in 2002.

It is listed as being 200 times sweeter than sugar and will not break down when it is cooked at high heats, therefore making it ideal for those looking for a sweetener to use during baking.

It also does not have any impact on your blood glucose levels, so from a blood glucose control standpoint, can be beneficial to use. It will not be digested or absorbed by the body, but rather quickly broken down and then simply excreted out after consumption. While so far it has been shown to be safe, it is still artificial and discretion should be exercised in it usage.

Neotame

Finally, the last main sweetener that you may come across is Neotame. This sweetener is actually manufactured by the NutraSweet Company and was first approved by the FDA for consumption in 2002.

It's ranked in as between 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, so you only need a very minuscule amount to reach the desired level of sweetness you're going for.

Because of this fact, it quickly became quite attractive for many manufacturing companies. Combined with the fact that it also doesn't present the metallic aftertaste and that it can be baked without any problem, it's a widely used sweetener on the market.

That said, it isn't available for consumer purchase, so you'll only find it listed in manufactured foods.

Stevia

Stevia is a actually a form of natural sweetener than many people turn to as it is much lower in calories and more natural than artificial sweeteners. We've included it here for the sake of completeness. It has a GI of less than 1, so has very little influence on blood glucose levels at all and with no calories, can be used without the risk of weight gain.

It's available as a 'dietary supplement' (as opposed to a sweetener) and has been proven safe numerous times. It also has been used to treat those with stomach aches, digestive problems, as well as those suffering from dental issues, so there are some added benefits to note about this herb as well.

It doesn't contain any vitamins or minerals however, so you won't get any assistance with those like you do the above sweeteners.

Conclusion

So there you have a brief run-down of the main artificial sweeteners on the market. While most of them will not impact blood glucose levels, this doesn't always mean they are completely safe for you to use. Keep in mind that they will still keep your taste buds desiring ultra-sweet tasting foods, so they will not help you stop the cravings associated with sugar consumption.

In addition to that, they are, after all, artificial sweeteners, so you really need to question how safe it is putting anything artificial in your body.