Artificial sweeteners are low-calorie non-sugar substances that are used in place of sugar or other sweeteners that have high caloric values. These are used by diabetics as well as those who wish to limit their calorie intake due to being on a weight loss program. Artificial sweeteners are basically a means to satisfy our sweet tooth, without having to use sugar. For many years, people claimed that sugar was at the root of obesity, and this led on to the rise of artificial sweeteners. There are five FDA approved artificial sweeteners, namely, aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, neotame, and sucralose. While these may seem to be a boon to many who are off sugar products, the not so sweet fact is that these artificial sweeteners have bitter side effects. Read on to know more about artificial sweeteners and their side effects.
Harmful Effects Of Artificial Sweeteners
This is a dipeptide of a methyl ester of phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is a predominant ingredient of sugar-free formulae and chewable tablets.
- Headaches, especially migraines have been triggered off by aspartame.
- Links to various neuropsychiatric disorders such as mood swings, visual hallucinations, panic attacks, isolated dizziness, and manic episodes.
- Those who have valve prolapses are placed at a greater risk for neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Prolonged aspartame consumption leads to seizures, especially in children.
This is an O-toluene sulfonamide derivative and causes certain dermatological reactions. In earlier days, saccharin was thought to cause cancer. However, that idea has changed, since studies have proved that it is not connected to cancer in humans. Therefore, saccharin is now present in substantial amounts in certain drugs.
- Since there has been cross-sensitivity with sulfonamides, children who suffer from sulfa allergies should avoid saccharine.
- Some side effects in both adults and children are hypersensitivity, pruritis, uticaria, eczema, prurigo, and photosensitivity.
- Some other reactions to saccharine include nausea, tongue blisters, diarrhea, wheezing, tachycardia, headache, sensory neuropathy, dieresis, and fixed eruptions.
- Saccharine-infused milk causes irritability, insomnia, opisthotonos, hypertonia, and strabismus in infants.
Acesulfame Potassium also goes around by the following names - acesulfame K, Ace-K, or Sunett. When compared to sugar, it is 200 times sweeter and is often used to either enhance or preserve sweetness of foods.
- Causes cancer due to presence of methylene chloride.
- Apart from cancers, long-term usage of methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, depression, kidney and liver problems, mental confusion and visual disturbances.
Neotame is much like aspartame with regard to its chemical combination, but does not have the phenylalanine dangers that aspartame has. It is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.
- Not too many side effects are known since the studies conducted on Neotame are not available to the masses. However, since Neotame is a type of aspartame, it is recommended that caution be exercised when using it, since side effects are assumed to be similar.
Also known as Splenda, and is a chlorinated sucrose derivative.
- Causes shrinking of thymus glands up to 40% and enlargement of the liver and kidneys.
- Is assumed to cause renal mineralization and caecal enlargement.
- Contrary to claims, sucralose is known to break down into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a substance that has not been completely tested on humans.
- Presence of chlorine in sucralose might lead to serious chronic neurological or immunological or problems.