Best Sweetener: Artificial or Natural?

Introduction

The diet of many contemporary individuals incorporates many manufactured products that contain refined sugar. In recent years, however, due to public discussions regarding the negative impact of this ingredient many artificial sweeteners were developed and incorporated into products such as soda. While these sweeteners offer a sweet taste at near-zero calorie value, their impact on both physical health and psychological perception of sweet products appears to be harmful.

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Impact of Artificial Sweeteners

The need for developing sweeteners that will be less harmful to human health is facilitated by a need to reduce the risk of sugar-induced illnesses. According to Swithers, the recent increase in the number of obesity and diabetes cases is mostly contributed to the widespread application of sugar in manufactured food and beverages (85). Therefore, the consumption of products that have properties similar to those of refined sugar but have fewer calories can impact the process of weight loss and diabetes control.

One strategy that is suggested by both scientists and companies in the food industry is to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, which will provide a similar effect with lower calories. In theory, this approach should ensure that a person can receive a product that tastes as sweet as those manufactured with sugar but with less harm to one’s health. This approach lowers the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

However, in research conducted by Swithers, the author concludes that children who consume artificial sweeteners are not subjected to a lower risk of obesity or higher probability of weight loss (86). Thus, despite artificial sweeteners having a potential for improving the population’s health, this study suggests that they display an adverse effect on the health state of individuals.

The idea that guides the development and application of artificial sweeteners is the fact that they can offer a sweet taste with lower calorie intake. One example is soda, which has approximately 150 calories in its regular version and zero calories in the sugar-free one (Rebholz et al. 79). The taste of both, however, is very similar, which may provide implications for concluding that artificial sweeteners are beneficial for people’s health. Suez et al. argue that these products promote metabolic problems in people (149). Therefore, the application of artificial sweeteners remains to be a controversial topic.

The way a human body responds to the intake of sugar, especially artificial is a complicated matter that requires more scientific research for accurate conclusions. Swithers argues that biological processes of digesting artificial sugars are not consistent with beliefs that enabled the development of these artificial products, which were discussed above (85). The author states that this is connected to glucose regulation and hormone release processes that are impaired through the consumption of these products. Another aspect of this issue is the receptors in the human body that respond to sugar and can get damaged due to a large intake of artificial sweeteners. Therefore, artificial sweeteners have a negative impact on the biological processes that occur in a person’s body.

The psychological impact of artificial sweeteners on a person’s perception of sweet foods should be considered as well. One danger is that by eating foods or drinking soda that contains zero calories an individual can allow himself or herself to eat a more substantial amount of other products. Some studies claim that artificial sweeteners can increase one’s appetite leading to more significant consumption of food (Stiehl). Additionally, the connection between a large number of calories and sweet products can be mitigated through the altered perception of food due to artificial sweeteners.

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The government should pay attention to the impact of these substances on the community’s health and based on research determine their safety. Currently, within the US several artificial sweeteners are approved for use by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allows food and beverage manufacturers to use these substances (Stiehl). However, the negative impact of the perception of sweet products remains viable despite the permission to apply artificial sweeteners.

Natural Sweeteners

Specific alternatives to artificial sweeteners should be considered in order to make a conclusion regarding the viability of substituting these low-calorie products. According to Gunnars, while the issue of not using refined sugar is complex and requires effort from individuals who want to stop eating it, several natural sweeteners exist that are considered beneficial for one’s health. Stevia, for instance, is becoming increasingly popular because of its taste and low-calorie value.

Thus, when compared to regular sugar, this ingredient is much sweeter, which requires a smaller amount of stevia to be put in products for achieving the anticipated effect. Gunnars states that stevia was proven to lower high blood pressure and blood sugar levels for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. As was previously mentioned, this natural substitute for sugar is approved by the FDA. Therefore, natural alternatives to refined artificial sugar exist that can display a better impact on people’s health.

Literature Review

Suez, et al. “Non-Caloric Artificial Sweeteners and the Microbiome: Findings and Challenges.” Gut Microbes, vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 149-155.

The purpose of the article by Suez et al. is the exploration of the metabolic impact and adverse effects of artificial sweeteners. The author explores the topic of non-calorie sweeteners, their application, and their value to nutrition. The primary implication of the article is that these substances provide people with a sweet taste with a reduced-calorie value, which can be used when working on weight loss or managing diabetes.

Therefore, this article is about the physiological impact and the issue of personalized reaction to artificial sweeteners that have not been appropriately explored by other studies. The arguments offered by Suez et al. help substantiate the opinion that artificial sweeteners hurt humans due to their perception and unclear biologic properties. The author argues that even though these non-caloric sweeteners are considered safe for application in nutrition products, some individuals experience adverse effects such as alterations of the microbiome. This article contributes to the literature that supports the claim of prospective issues caused by artificial sweeteners. For instance, these products can cause glucose intolerance, which was proven on both mice and human subjects.

Rebholz, Casey, et al. “Diet Soda Consumption and Risk of Incident End Stage Renal Disease.” Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, vol. 12, no. 1, 2016, pp. 79-86.

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The article by Rebholz et al. explores a similar topic of the adverse impact associated with the consumption of artificial sweeteners. The specific focus of researchers, in this case, is diet soda, which became increasingly popular with the invention of artificial sweeteners that allow individuals to consume the beverage without regard for their calorie intake. The issues that can be caused by this prevalence are described by Rebholz et al. as “impaired glucose metabolism, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome” (79). Therefore, the evidence in this literature supports the argument in the paper because the findings suggest that artificial sweeteners have an adverse impact on human health, despite the perceived benefit of lower-calorie value that should help reduce weight and improve the nutrition of people with diabetes.

While in this article the authors argue that further research is required to confirm the adverse impact of artificial sweeteners, the initial findings suggest that these substances may increase the risks of developing several conditions. The reason why Rebholz et al. focuses their attention on soft drinks is that those account for approximately 30% of the added sugar intake in the US population (79). Therefore, while soda manufacturers may reduce the risk of increased sugar consumption by manufacturing beverages using artificial sweeteners, the overall effect of this strategy is harmful.

Swithers, Susan. “Artificial Sweeteners are not the Answer to Childhood Obesity.” Appetite, vol. 93, 2015, pp. 85-90.

Swithers explores the issue of childhood obesity and the impact of artificial sweeteners on the problem. Similar to other literature, this article supports the argument that artificial sweeteners, despite their perceived benefit, do not contribute to the improvement of health. Both Swithers and Rebholz et al. argue that the consumption of soft drinks with sugar contributes to increased obesity rates in the US population (85; 79). The finding presented in this article suggests that both the beverages with artificial and refined sugar have a similar impact on the risks of developing diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems, as well as an increase in weight.

Thus, this article explores the biological mechanisms of processing artificial sweeteners, including hormone response and gut bacteria functioning, and glucose regulation. Moreover, the aspect of learning specific nutrition habits that will persist in one’s adult life as the primary psychological effect of artificial sweeteners is explored. In general, children consuming artificial sweeteners have more probability of developing a strong preference for consuming sweet foods.

Conclusion

Overall, the need for developing artificial sweeteners as substances that taste sweet but have a significantly lower amount of calories is facilitated through an increased number of diseases. Diabetes, excess weight, and other issues are associated with the widespread intake of refined sugar. However, the impact of artificial sweeteners on health proves to be harmful because they impair the biological processes in a human’s body and change the perception of sweet foods.

Works Cited

Gunnars, Kris. “4 Natural Sweeteners that are Good for Your Health.” Healthline. Web.

Rebholz, Casey, et al. “Diet Soda Consumption and Risk of Incident End Stage Renal Disease.” Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, vol. 12, no. 1, 2016, pp. 79-86.

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Stiehl, Christina. “Which is Worse: Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar?Thrillist. Web.

Suez, et al. “Non-Caloric Artificial Sweeteners and the Microbiome: Findings and Challenges.” Gut Microbes, vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 149-155.

Swithers, Susan. “Artificial Sweeteners are not the Answer to Childhood Obesity.” Appetite, vol. 93, 2015, pp. 85-90.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, June 6). Best Sweetener: Artificial or Natural? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/best-sweetener-artificial-or-natural/

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