Food additives is very long topic. Under this category, I will talk about the general purposes, areas of use, codes, and the effect on our health of additives piece by piece. Our topic for today: sweeteners.
International Food Codex Commission (CAC) sweeteners used in foods; It is defined as a non-sugar substance that gives a sweet taste to food. As can be understood from the definition, the purpose of use is to add flavor to the food or to increase the existing sweetness.
Sweeteners are divided into natural and artificial sweeteners according to their origin. Natural sweeteners are the naturally derived group, usually herbal. For example, Steviosit (stevia, sugar grass) is in this group. I will discuss this issue in detail with sugar alcohols in another article.
Artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, are the group obtained by synthesis. Examples include Aspartame (E951), Acesulfame K (E950), Saccharin (E954). Open names can be written in the label information, as well as with the determined E codes. I also wrote the codes in parentheses for familiarity when you come across them.
Artificial sweeteners contain no calories or are very low in calories. It does not affect the glycemic index. Therefore, it is suitable for use in diabetic foods. They have high sweetening capacities. Therefore, less amount of sugar is used in the food product.
Uses of Sweeteners
Soft drinks, fruit juices, desserts, candies, jams and marmalades, diabetic products, fruit yoghurts, etc. In addition, we can see it in products such as oral care products outside the food sector. Sweeteners are among the commonly used food additives. Don’t be fooled by the wide range of uses. The number of our producers who produce according to the clean label approach is increasing day by day.
So, are artificial sweeteners harmful?
Let’s get to the main topic that everyone is wondering about. Is it harmful to our health? There is a lot of research on artificial sweeteners. Although their use was prohibited at first, their use was allowed because of subsequent research, and daily intakes were determined.
Some studies have indicated that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer. The American National Cancer Institute stated that there is not enough evidence on this issue and that this may be related to the high consumption dose. The effects of artificial sweeteners on diabetes are also controversial. Research on the subject continues.
The last thing I want to say about this subject is that it should not be forgotten that the important thing is the dose, that is, the amount of use. No matter what food or food product it is, the amount we use/consume should be the thing we pay the most attention to in our diet. I end my article by saying that too much of everything is harmful.