Pros & cons of artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, which are also known as "sugar substitutes", are chemicals that could be added to foods and drinks to make it taste sweet. These sweeteners are very effective, as they give the sweet taste more than the usual table sugar. There are many artificial sweeteners available in the market; the most common ones include the following: aspartame, advantame, sucralose, sacchari, neotame, cyclamate… etc.
Artificial sweeteners are very common among diabetic patients as well as obese people who try to lose some weight. The most significant health benefits of artificial sweeteners are the following:
- Weight loss: this is because artificial sweeteners are low in calories (1 teaspoon contains only about 16 calories).
- Control of blood glucose level in diabetic patients: artificial sweeteners aren't carbohydrates like usual table sugar, so it can't raise blood glucose level.
- Management of metabolic syndrome: this medical condition is mainly manifested with elevation of blood pressure, high blood glucose level and abnormal level of blood cholesterol. On the other side, it's believed that artificial sweeteners are a better option than usual table sugar in this regard.
- Dental health: artificial sweeteners, unlike the usual table sugar, don't be fermented by the bacteria in the oral cavity, so the incidence of dental problems (especially dental caries) is markedly decreased.
On the other side, it's reported that artificial sweeteners could be responsible for development of some unpleasant symptoms, such as; headache, depression and seizures. Although the mechanism of development of these side effects still unclear, but it's believed that using these artificial sweeteners in moderation is the key to prevent development of these side effects.