Diabetics with sweet tooth can make use of the plethora of Artificial sweeteners available in the markets, many of these can be used in cooking and baking as well.
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Artificial sweeteners provide the same sweet taste without the calories and rise in blood Sugar. A number of Sweeteners are available- they differ in the
Degree of sweetness- hence the quantity required to give the same sweetening effect,
Purity of taste- some sweeteners leave a bitter after taste, most of the new ones do not
Cooking use, some of the sweeteners can be used for cooking-others may chemically breakdown while they are exposed to high temperatures and may even be harmful for some patients like those suffering from phenyl ketonuria.
Artificial sweeteners are safe and do not cause any harm if taken in the recomended quantities- since they are hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar- the amount which can be consumed per day is always less than the upper permissible limit.
Most popular sweeteners may be safe for consumptions within the advised maximum limits
Aspartame is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, but has very little calories comparitively- Its in use since past 20-30 yrs. Aspartame should not be heated as it breaks down and loses its sweetening properties, and may also be harmful. Aspartame is not recommended for Phenylketanurics. Aspartame may also leave a bitter aftertaste so its usually blended with other artificial sweeteners.
Its widely used by food and beverage industry in sweetening food and beverages.
Its available both as tablet and powder form.
There have been concerns about the safety of Aspartame from various quarters, including the possibility of Brain Tumours, being caused by continued intake of Aspartame. There is sufficient evidence both vindicating and absolving this molecule- as always the absolving (justifying) studies and decisions are always linked somehow to the interested parties.
Sucralose is ripping away the popularity of aspartame in recent times since its better tolerance to heat and safety profile.
NutraSweet, Equal, Diet Coke & Pepsi
300-700 times sweeter than Sugar, it was discovered way back in 1879 and still continues to be popular. It may leave a bitter aftertaste- but when blended with other sweeteners this drawback may be corrected.
It is safe for consumption in humans even though some animal studies ( Rat) have shown adverse effects (Bladder cancer).
Saccharin does not contain any calories. Maximum daily intake should preferably not increase 5 mg/kg of body weight.
It is available in tablet, powder form as well as liquid Suspension. It can be used in cooking, baking and making preserves like jams etc.. it has a long shelf life and does not loose its properties when heated.
Sweet and Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet'N Low, and Necta Sweet.
Acesulfame potassium is as potent as Aspartame- 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar, it does not contain any calories. If used intensively it may result in a bitter aftertaste.Its usually blended with other sweeteners to give enhanced sugarlike sweetness.
Maximum daily intake should not exceed 15 mg/Kg of body weight
Acesulfame has been approved by FDA and may be considered safe, even though some reports have emerged linking it with cancer.
Sunette or Sweet One
Sucralose is about 600 times as sweet as sugar and is gaining wide popularity while leaving all other sweeteners behind. It can be used in baking and cooking , it does not loose its sweetening properties when heated and has a long shelf life. Sucralose does not leave any aftertaste as well.
Maximum daily intake advised by USFDA should not exceed 5 mg/Kg body weight.
Even though at usual doses of consumption it is considered safe, Sucralose has caused concern range from health to environmental hazards but none of the studies have conclusively proven any adverse effects of Sucralose at currently used doses,
Stevia is a plant originally grown in South America, its leaves, stems and other parts impart sweet taste and have been used by locals since ages, Even though it was discovered as early as 1898, its still to catch up in the sweeteners market. Some studies have even shown beneficial effect of stevia leaves on Diabetes and Hypertension. Stevia has been used most extensively in japan, where even Coca Cola uses it to sweeten some of its beverages.
Stevia leaves and extracts are generally safe. Even though it has not been approved in US and EU as an sugar substitute. They have been used in Japan since 1970, no adveres effects have been noted since such a long time.
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