What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are a chemical substance that can sweeten a food or a meal. Including sweeteners in your daily diet, either by replacing all of the sugar in your diet or just some, can help lose weight. It can help stop obesity, which causes so many to feel bitter because of their health and lifestyle.

Just to make an example, in Spain over half of the population are overweight. In United States, for the first time in many years the present generation of children have a much lower expectancy than that of their parents because the high obesity rates. For this very reason, it is needed more than ever to receive food education and learning to acquire good lifestyle habits to prevent and treat this disease. Also, the use of artificial sweeteners can help to reduce the caloric intake in certain food products. But should we use them?

Natural and nutritious sweeteners (such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose and starch by-products) provide energy in a lesser or greater extent. In the case of products derived from carbohydrates such as monosaccharaides, disaccharides, starch derivatives and sucrose, amount to 4 K Cal/g when consumed.

On the other hand, polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol) conserve the sweetness of the original sugar, but are barely absorbed by the small intestines, for this reason they are often used in products to reduce the sugar and caloric intake. When they reach the small intestine, the polygons require water and begin to form an isotonic solution that reaches the colon. If there is an elevated amount of polyols, it can induce laxative effects. For this reason, food packaging must warn that it contains these products.

Intensive sweeteners (Chemical, artificial or plant-based) are commonly used too in many food products to lower the caloric intake. They are often added to food products to sweeten them without being concerned about calories. They are capable of sweetening up to thousands of times more than actual sugar. Many of them are zero calories such as the saccharin, cyclamate, and acesulfame. There are others that have a very small caloric value that is minor. Aspartame is a powerful sweetener and is considered to be zero calories when used in small portions. It is also interesting to know that many intensive sweeteners have a strong flavor that makes them unsuitable for using as a sugar replacement. For example, saccharin has a metallic taste and can leave a bitter aftertaste.

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