Thursday, February 5, 2009
Artificial Sweeteners: Mayo Clinic Perspective
I still have a lot to learn about artificial sweeteners.
I am passionate about nutrition and the safety of food products. I aim to give a fair and honest look at all of the possibilities. There is much to keep up on. Research seems to give us all kinds of information. "Coffee is good for you!" one month, then, "Warning: Coffee may cause....!" I am not talking about media hype, here. Just research.
I have entire sets of ideas that I want to be right, but, I have to remember to give each and every credible source its voice. Even if I don't want to. Otherwise I am just another biased voice pushing an agenda.
In an effort to share ALL of the credible information I find in my research, I would like to share what I found at the Mayo Clinic website: "According to the National Cancer Institute, however, there's no scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer."
The Mayo Clinic article focuses on the four low/no calorie, sugar substitutes; Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Saccharin (Sweet'NLow, SugarTwin), Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One), and Sucralose (Splenda).
The best part of this article is where they touch upon those of us who completely gorge ourselves on sweets. They have a very classy way of saying, "You idiots! Stop eating crap!"
I love this: "Just removing sugar from cookies and chocolates doesn't make them low-calorie, low-fat foods. If you eat too many, you'll still get more calories than you may need, and you may not get enough nutritious foods."
The obvious can be so profound. This issue is exactly what I have been dealing with. Eating too much of something, even if it is "healthy and naturally sweetened." Sure, I'm sugar-free. But I am still wrestling with my inner imp on issues of moderation.
I have written a lot about the negative aspects of artificial sweeteners, because there is a LOT of hype about how dangerous they are, but even those claims, as much as we want to believe them, need to be questioned and researched just as thoroughly. It is extremely difficult to know, sometimes, which of the information out there is to be believed. Obviously, if we are already biased or just desperately wanting to believe something, it's easy to back up what you want to be true. You can find anything online. "They" don't call it the information superhighway for nothing. What makes a source credible? I am still trying to figure this out, especially in light of all of the networking, politics and incentives between giant organizations/corporations.
The cold, hard facts on artificial sweeteners? We may not know all of the facts for another 20 years. Many studies come to fruition after a certain amount of time has passed and researchers are able to talk "facts" in retrospect. In the meantime, I am considering going to school to become a clinical nutritionist or registered dietitian. Then when I get preachy to my friends and family, they'll have to listen.